SUMMARY: Large syslog file - best remedy?

From: Liz Bartlett (
Date: Fri Apr 18 1997 - 14:45:55 CDT

Original query:
>A shortage of space on the root partition alerted me
>to the fact that I had a /var/log/syslog file of nearly
>7 Mb! It is no longer growing, however I am unsure of the
>best way to mv/rm it, and start over with a fresh file.
>I have this feeling that something is going to continue
>to grab hold of it, and refuse to free up the space on
>the disk.
>I would like to avoid rebooting if possible, so any pointers
>as to processes that will need to be killed/restarted or
>HUPed are welcomed.
>System details: Sun Sparc 2
> SunOS 4.1.3_U1

An early response from "Nicholas R LeRoy" <>
proved to be the perfect solution:

>Easy one!
># cd /var/adm (or /var/log...)
># mv syslog syslog.crap or
># rm syslog
># kill -HUP pid_of_syslogd (self explanatory).
>Hup'ing syslogd causes it to re-open its log files. The 'mv' works
>'cause syslogd never closes the files, so when you mv it, it still has
>the file open'ed til you do the kill. Note that this will cause the
>disk space to not be free'ed up 'til you HUP syslogd, too (if you rm it).


Other, varied responses, which may or may not work as well
(my apolgies for not acknowleging future respondants - I think
I have more than enough for a summary already!):


>You *should* be able to just use the rm/mv commands on it (as root, of
>That's what works for me.


>From: (Craig Gates)

>Run /usr/lib/newsyslog.


>From: Ted Marigomen <>

>Try cp /dev/null > /var/log/syslog to zero out the file. Or kill
>syslogd first, zero out the file, then restart syslogd.


>From: Jonathan Loh <>

>Well as you probably already know it's an ordinary text file. So just set
>up a cron job.


>From: Gene C Van Nostern-EDS x4717 <>

>mv /var/log/syslog /var/log/syslog.`date +"%y%m%d"` # or some such
>kill -HUP `cat /etc/`
>rm (or compress, or gzip) /var/log/syslog.`date +"%y%m%d"`
>syslogd _should_ be the only process hanging on to /var/log/syslog.
>kill -HUP'ing it makes it let go.
>You might try fashioning some some sort of rotatelog facility, and
>putting it in root's crontab. Alas, I don't have one handy (and I don't
>know your needs anyway), else I would've sent one along.


>From: Melanie Dymond Harper <>

>Assuming you want to keep file's contents:
>1) copy file to somewhere else
>2) compress file
> (copied version)
>3) cat /dev/null > original version
>If you no longer want the contents of the original file, just
>cat /dev/null to it as in step 3.
>This is what I do with my unwanted log files, any road.

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