For some time (since EL 4.6), Red Hat has embedded a system report and troubleshooting tool into the operating system. The tool, sosreport, collects system information and settings and bundles it into a tar.bz archive for easy distribution. Normally, this is intended for Red Hat support, but can prove to be a useful diagnostic in other situations.

Note - This tool is also installed on CentOS and other Red Hat derivatives.

I'm curious if there are any useful methods to compare the sosreport output from two different systems. I'm chasing down a bug that affects one server, while there's no impact on another "identical" system. It seems as though there should be a way to "diff" the sosreport output to see what configuration differences exist between the two platforms.

Any particular tips or creative uses of the sosreport framework in your systems environment?


Please try sxconsole.

"sxconsole is a tool used to extract various report types and then analyze those extracted reports with plug-ins. The tool also provides an archiving structure so that all the compressed and extracted reports are saved to a directory. This tool was developed for sysreport/sosreports but has been expanded to include any report that has a class defined."

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Try saj (former sosreport-analyzer-ng).


You can deploy many files into one .txt file, so, you can diff two sosreports.

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No, not really.

There is a package called checksysreport which can be used to extract information and see which bugs are fixed in which update but that is hardly a utility to do diff. Also, I guess that package is internal only but I am not sure. I can check if you want.

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  • Definitely. I'm interested in seeing how/if people use sosreport in their environments, or if it's just a method of shipping system info back to Red Hat... – ewwhite Oct 4 '12 at 12:14

The best way to diff a sosreports contents would be to use meld (a GUI-based diff). More info here: http://meldmerge.org/

You can extract two sosreports and then meld the directories:

 # meld <sosreport-1 dir> <sosreport-2 dir>
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  • 1
    I tried that. It's a bit messy and slow given the complexity of the directories... Especially since Meld is an X11 application. – ewwhite Oct 19 '12 at 18:16

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