I am having problems understanding FreeBSD's documentation on "Configuring System Logging":


The documentation: "By default, syslogd is started when the system boots."

So far so good. But in the next sentence it says:

"This is controlled by the variable syslogd_enable in /etc/rc.conf"

As far as I understand, this is a contradiction. Because by default syslog_enable is not set in /etc/rc.conf. And since syslogd starts without being activated in /etc/rc.conf it must be controlled somewhere else.

So here's my question: if I want to pass flags to syslogd on startup via:


do I also need to set syslogd_enable="YES" just to make sure syslogd starts up i.e. its startup being controlled by /etc/rc.conf


is it sufficient to just set the syslogd_flags and just hope that syslogd will be started somewhere else in the system's startup process?

1 Answer 1


Take a look at /etc/defaults/rc.conf -- this file contains defaults for all the rc.conf variables (in the base system).

Everything you set in /etc/rc.conf only overwrites specific values of the defaults file.

For most tools and daemons the default is xyz_enable="NO" so you have to enable the service with xyz_enable="YES". Syslog is kind of an exception, because it is such an essential service (like cron) its default is syslogd_enable="YES". You have to explicitly disable it if you e.g. install another syslog daemon.

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