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This article has some todo items:
  • Add systemd service start example

syslogd — log systems messages, utility that reads and logs messages to the system console, logs files, other machines and/or users as specified by its configuration file.

Syslogd supports RFC5424 and RFC3164 style log messages for both local and remote logging using Internet and UNIX domain sockets.


USE flags

USE flags for app-admin/sysklogd Standard log daemons

logger Build the logger program
logrotate use app-admin/logrotate for rotating logs rather than custom cron scripts


Install app-admin/sysklogd:

root #emerge --ask app-admin/sysklogd
It is a bad idea to run more than one system logger on a physical host. Other local loggers should be removed or disabled.



  • /etc/conf.d/syslogd - Gentoo's config file for /etc/init.d/sysklogd daemon. See man syslogd for options.
  • /etc/syslog.conf - Global (system wide) configuration file. See syslog.conf(5) for more information.
  • /etc/syslog.d/*.conf - Conventional sub-directory of .conf files read by syslogd.
  • /etc/syslog.d/10-remote-logging.conf - Conventional filename for additional configuration rules.



Add the sysklog daemon to the default runlevel so that logging starts on system boot:

root #rc-update add sysklogd default

Start sysklogd by running:

root #rc-service sysklogd start

Verify file /var/log/messages for current syslog entries:

root #tail -f /var/log/messages
Mar  6 11:33:59 node syslogd[14000]: syslogd v2.3.0: restart.



Local logging

Default daemon running options:

  • -m 0 disable Interval between MARK messages
  • -s Operate in secure mode, do not log messages from remote machines. If specified twice, no socket at all will be opened, which also disables support for logging to remote machines.
FILE /etc/conf.d/sysklogdDefault daemon running options
# Config file for /etc/init.d/sysklogd

SYSLOGD="-m 0 -s -s"

Default syslog.conf configuration file:

FILE /etc/syslog.confDefault configuration options
auth,authpriv.*                  /var/log/auth.log
*.*;auth,authpriv.none          -/var/log/syslog

kern.*                          -/var/log/kern.log
mail.*                          -/var/log/mail.log

mail.err                         /var/log/mail.err

        mail,news.none          -/var/log/messages

*.=emerg                        *

include /etc/syslog.d/*.conf

At this point the installation is finished and everything will work for local event logging.

Remote logging

Remote logging setup is optional. In the default configuration the sysklogd daemon will not send or receive any syslog messages via IP. Gentoo's /etc/conf.d/sysklogd configuration file need to be adjusted for the server and client.


To enable the syslog server to listen for incoming syslog messages edit /etc/conf.d/sysklogd as follows:

FILE /etc/conf.d/sysklogdSyslog server daemon running options
# Config file for /etc/init.d/sysklogd

SYSLOGD="-m 0 -b"

The IP address is a local server interface, where sysklogd will bind the service to.

Restart the sysklogd daemon:

root #rc-service sysklogd restart

Verify if the service is running and bound to the correct interface by running:

root #ss -tulpn | grep syslog
udp   UNCONN 0      0*    users:(("syslogd",pid=20175,fd=6))


To enable the syslog client to send syslog messages, edit /etc/conf.d/sysklogd as follows:

FILE /etc/conf.d/sysklogdSyslog client daemon running options
# Config file for /etc/init.d/sysklogd

SYSLOGD="-m 0"

Additional client configuration files should be stored in the /etc/syslog.d/ directory. Files using the *.conf suffix get active, after a restart of the sysklogd daemon.

This rule redirects all messages to syslog server using RFC5424 style formatting. Create the following file:

FILE /etc/syslog.d/10-remote-logging.conf
*.*          @                    ;RFC5424

This example rule redirects all messages to syslog server 2001:db8::1 using RFC3164 syslog formatting. Create the following file:

FILE /etc/syslog.d/11-remote-ipv6-logging.conf
*.*          @2001:db8::1                  ;RFC3164
The syslog option which RFC logging format is to be used to send messages, is set by the ;RFC5424 or ;RFC3164

Restart the sysklogd daemon on the client:

root #rc-server sysklogd restart


For further configuration options read the syslog.conf man page

user $man syslog.conf

Further examples regarding the syslog configuration read Rsyslog following sections about Facility, Severity and Filtering. Read the RFC5424 Section 6.2.1.


user $syslogd -?
  syslogd [-468AdFHKknsTtv?] [-a PEER] [-b NAME] [-f FILE] [-m INTERVAL]
                             [-P PID_FILE] [-p SOCK_PATH] [-r SIZE[:NUM]]
  -4        Force IPv4 only
  -6        Force IPv6 only
  -8        Allow all 8-bit data, e.g. unicode, does not affect control chars
  -A        Send to all addresses in DNS A, or AAAA record
  -a PEER   Allow PEER to use us as a remote syslog sink. Ignored when started
            with -s. Multiple -a options may be specified:
              ipaddr[/len][:port]   Accept messages from 'ipaddr', which may
                                    be IPv4 or IPv6 if enclosed with '[' and
                                    ']'.  The optional port may be a service
                                    name or a port number
              domainname[:port]     Accept messages where the reverse address
                                    lookup yields 'domainname' for the sender
                                    address.  'domainname' may contain special
                                    shell-style pattern characters like '*'

  -b NAME   Bind to a specific address and/or port. Multiple -b options may be
            specified. Default is to listen on all interfaces on UDP port 514,
            unless also started with -s:
              address[:port]        Hostname or IP address, IPv6 addresses
                                    must be enclosed in '[' and ']'
              :port                 UDP port number, or service name
                                    default: 'syslog', port 514

  -C FILE   File to cache last read kernel seqno, default: /run/syslogd.cache
            Note: syslogd relies on this file being removed at system reboot.
  -d        Enable debug mode, implicitly enables -F to prevent backgrounding
  -F        Run in foreground, required when monitored by init(1)
  -f FILE   Alternate .conf file, default: /etc/syslog.conf
  -H        Use hostname from message instead of address for remote messages
  -K        Disable kernel logging, useful in container use-cases
  -k        Allow logging with facility 'kernel', otherwise remapped to 'user'
  -m MINS   Interval between MARK messages, 0 to disable, default: 20 min
  -n        Disable DNS query for every request
  -P FILE   File to store the process ID, default: /run/
  -p PATH   Path to UNIX domain socket, multiple -p create multiple sockets.
            Default, if no -p argument is given: /dev/log
  -r S[:R]  Enable log rotation. The size argument (S) takes k/M/G qualifiers,
            e.g. 2M for 2 MiB.  The optional rotations argument default to 5.
            Rotation can also be defined per log file in /etc/syslog.conf
  -s        Operate in secure mode, do not log messages from remote machines.
            If specified twice, no socket at all will be opened, which also
            disables support for logging to remote machines.
  -t        Keep kernel timestamp, even after initial ring buffer emptying
  -T        Use local time and date for messages received from remote hosts
  -?        Show this help text
  -v        Show program version and exit

Bug report address:
Project home page:



root #emerge --ask --depclean --verbose app-admin/sysklogd


Check if a sysklogd daemon is running :

user $ps ax | grep syslogd
21390 ?        Ss     0:00 /usr/sbin/syslogd -F -m 0

Verify correct network configuration running on the syslog server:

root #ss -tulpn | grep sys
udp   UNCONN 0      0*    users:(("syslogd",pid=21695,fd=6))                                                   

Verify using the command logger on the client to send a test syslog message:

user $logger -t test my syslog-test-message

Following message will appear in the /var/log/messages file, on the syslog server when syslogd is configured properly:

root #tail /var/log/messages
Mar  6 13:08:20 test: my syslog-test-message

See also

  • Metalog — an alternative syslog daemon.
  • Rsyslog — open source system for high performance log processing.
  • Syslog-ng — a powerful, highly configurable monitoring and logging daemon.

External resources