I am looking for a cli (command line interface) program that would basically tail either 1 log or a set of logs in /var/log and on the fly output in a more friendly manner. Perl would be best but isn't a prerequisite.

  • tail + awk + print doesn't do what you want?
    – Tim Post
    Oct 19, 2009 at 7:39
  • awk is more awkward to me then vi lol Oct 19, 2009 at 8:08

2 Answers 2


If your system has watch and you're looking for something quick and dirty:

watch '( tail /var/log/logone;/bin/echo -e "\n--------\n";tail /var/log/logtwo )'

It's not necessary to use -f with tail since watch updates the display.

There are other better solutions, but if you find yourself in a bind sometimes this kind of thing will help.

  • This is more along the lines that I am looking for. Now I just need a wrapper of some sort to pretty up the output somewhat. Oct 19, 2009 at 7:58

Multitail allows you to "tail" several files at once. You could also open several windows inside a screen session and run less -F in each.

As for "output in a more friendly manner", that's very subjective, and also individual for each app. There are log viewers for many popular servers, e.g. AWStats. Just see if it does what you need. What exactly do you want to check?

Finally, instead of watching logs, for long-term server maintenance a monitoring software probably makes more sense. Check out e.g. Nagios or ZenOSS.

  • As far as I know AWStats is for apache logs. I am looking more for messages and secure. For the "friendly manner" More just filter out some stuff and rearrange and display other things in a different manner like if a line looks like a firewall output display this way. Oct 19, 2009 at 7:43
  • 1
    Multi-tail is such an awesome app. +1 Oct 19, 2009 at 15:32

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