Ubuntu Tips: How To View System Log Files in GUI

by Ramesh Natarajan on November 11, 2009

Question: When debugging an issue on Ubuntu, I typically go to the command line to view the log file. Are there any GUI log file viewers available for Ubuntu?

Answer: Ubuntu comes with an inbuilt system log file viewer.

Launching System Log Viewer

Click on System -> Administration -> Log File Viewer, to launch the GUI log viewer tool.

The example below shows the auth.log file contents. This is a real time log file viewer. When you are viewing a log file, if there are any new log entries, they’ll be displayed immediately. The newer entries will be shown in bold as shown in the following example.

Ubuntu System Log Viewer User Interface

Fig: Ubuntu System Log Viewer

Updated Log Files will be shown in bold

When you are viewing a file, if there are newer entries available on other log files, they’ll be displayed in bold. In the following example, the current file we are viewing is user.log.0. However, the syslog file is in bold indicating that there is a newer log entry available in it.

Ubuntu System Log File Viewer - Real Time Log Updates
Fig: Ubuntu System Log Viewer – with real time file updates

Adding Custom Log Files to the Viewer.

By default Ubuntu System Log Viewer shows all important system log files including the following:

  • auth.log
  • boot
  • debug
  • dmesg
  • dpkg.log
  • kern.log
  • mail.log
  • messages
  • syslog

However you can add your own custom log to this list. From the System Log Viewer, click on File -> Open -> Select the log file using file browser. In this example, we are selecting the /var/log/apache2/error.log.

Ubuntu System Log Viewer - Open Custom Log File
Fig: Open a Custom Log File

Once you’ve added the custom log file, even after you close and open the System Log Viewer, it will be there. To remove a log file permanently from the System Log Viewer, select the log file -> Click on File -> Remove.

Ubuntu System Log Viewer showing Apache Error Log
Fig: Custom Apache error_log added to Ubuntu System Log Viewer


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Edwin June 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Hi Ramesh, I have a question… What about for a remote (or local) Ubuntu Server, is there any GUI log-viewer that allow connect remotely?

Thank you in advance for you advice.

Regards, Edwin.

2 Park jin cheol February 28, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Hi

I want to View Ubuntu Log in my WindowsXP desktop

Like some Log_File and Excel File Do you have some recommend to me?

Sorry My english is bad

Regards, park j c

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