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David Oberhollenzer 06cbfcc1cb Fix path for creating the log directory 2 years ago
m4 Initial import 2 years ago
.gitignore Import syslog utility program 2 years ago
LICENSE Relicense the code under OpenBSD style ISC license 2 years ago Add file 2 years ago Update README 2 years ago Initial import 2 years ago Initial import 2 years ago
klogd.c minor klogd fixes 2 years ago
logfile.c Relicense the code under OpenBSD style ISC license 2 years ago
mksock.c Remove any pre-existing socket before binding 2 years ago
proto.c Add extra bounds check to syslog message parser 2 years ago
protomap.c minor cleanup 2 years ago
syslog.1 Import syslog utility program 2 years ago
syslog.c Import syslog utility program 2 years ago
syslogd.c Fix path for creating the log directory 2 years ago
syslogd.h Store log files in /var/log/syslog, also create parent directories 2 years ago


This package contains a tiny syslogd implementation called usyslogd and accompanying utilities, such as a tiny klogd that forwards kernel message to syslog and a utility program called syslog that can be used to generate syslog message from the command line or shell scripts.

The syslog daemon opens a socket in /dev/log, processes syslog messages and forwards the parsed message to a modular backend interface.

Currently, there is only one implementation of the backend interface that dumps the log messages into files in the processes working directory (by default /var/log/syslog).

A simple log rotation scheme has been implemented.


The source code in this package is provided under the OpenBSD flavored ISC license. So you can practically do as you wish, as long as you retain the original copyright notice.


The programs in this package have been written for and tested on a GNU/Linux system, so their may be some GNU-isms in there in addition to Linux specific code.

The usyslogd implementation has not been written to any specifications but instead to work with the messages generated by Musl libc. It may not properly parse the formats generated by other libc implementations or by programs that roll their own.

The klogd daemon is Linux specific but independent of the syslog implementation and could in theory be used with other syslog daemons.

The syslog utility program only uses functionality form the standard C library and should in theory work on any modern GNU/Linux or BSD system. The facility IDs may need to be adjusted (it uses the ones from usyslogd).

Building and installing

This package uses autotools. If you downloaded a distribution tar ball, simply run the configure script and then make after the Makefile has been generated.

When working with the git tree, run the script to generate the configure script and friends.

The syslog implementation

Security Considerations

By default, the daemon switches its working directory to /var/log/syslog. The directory is created if it doesn't exist and the daemon always tries to change its mode to one that doesn't allow other users (except group members) to access the directory.

If told to so on the command line, the daemon chroots to the log directory.

By default, the daemon then tries to drop privileges by switching to user and group named syslogd if they exist (any other user or group can be specified on the command line; doing so causes syslogd to fail if they don't exist).

On a system that hosts accounts for multiple users that may be more or less trusted, one may consider only giving system services access to the syslog socket and not allowing regular users. Otherwise, a user may flood the syslog daemon with messages, possibly leading to resource starvation, or (in the case of size limited log rotation outlined below) to the loss of otherwise critical log messages. Since this is not the primary target of the Pygos system that this package has been written for, such a mechanism is not yet implemented.

In case of a system where only daemons are running, the above mentioned security measure is useless. If a remote attacker manages to get regular user privileges, you already have a different, much greater problem. Also, a remote attacker would have to compromise a local daemon that already has special access to the syslog socket, which is again your least concern in this scenario.


The backend can be configured to do log rotation in a continuous fashion (i.e. in a way that log messages aren't lost), or in a way where it drops old messages. Furthermore, the backend can be configured to automatically do a log rotation if a certain size threshold is hit.

If the usyslogd receives a SIGHUP, it tells the backend to do log rotation.

In the case of the size threshold, the backend is expected to do the rotation on its own if the predetermined limit is hit.

File Based Backend

The file based backend writes log messages to files in the current working directory (by default /var/log), named either after the ident string (if specified) or the facility name.

Log messages are prefixed with an ISO 8601 time stamp, optionally the facility name (unless part of the file name), the log level and the senders PID. Each of those fields is enclosed in brackets.

Log rotation in a continuous fashion means renaming the existing log file to one suffixed with the current time stamp. Overwriting old messages renaming the log file by appending a constant .1 suffix.

Possible Future Directions

In the near term future, the daemon probably requires more fine grained control over logging such as setting a minimum log level or a way to configure limits per facility or service.

Future directions may include adding other backends, such as forwarding the log messages to a central server, for instance using syslog over UDP/TCP or using the front end of some time series database.