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It seems rsyslogd stopped writing to /var/log/syslog on my laptop two days ago, and I do't know why.

This is visible in the following:

clh@avignon:/var/log$ ls -lt | head -30
total 12600
drwxr-xr-x 2 root              root    4096 Jan 30 09:53 upstart
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root  223836 Jan 30 09:37 dpkg.log
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root              utmp  361728 Jan 30 09:20 wtmp
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root   31376 Jan 30 09:19 Xorg.0.log
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root  262055 Jan 30 09:19 pm-powersave.log
drwxr-xr-x 2 root              root    4096 Jan 30 09:19 lightdm
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root    3177 Jan 30 09:18 boot.log
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    60332 Jan 30 09:18 dmesg
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root  334169 Jan 30 09:18 udev
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root   32014 Jan 30 09:16 Xorg.0.log.old
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    60381 Jan 30 09:07 dmesg.0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root              root    4096 Jan 30 07:54 cups
-rw-r----- 1 messagebus        adm        0 Jan 29 06:39 syslog
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    16101 Jan 29 06:30 dmesg.1.gz
-rw-r----- 1 messagebus        adm   186869 Jan 28 20:57 kern.log
-rw-r----- 1 messagebus        adm   147391 Jan 28 20:57 syslog.1
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root    4524 Jan 28 20:33 alternatives.log
-rw-rw-r-- 1 root              utmp 8760000 Jan 28 20:32 lastlog
-rw-r--r-- 1 root              root  960000 Jan 28 20:32 faillog
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    16029 Jan 28 14:25 dmesg.2.gz
-rw-r----- 1 messagebus        adm    21598 Jan 28 07:31 syslog.2.gz
-rw-r----- 1 root              adm    15926 Jan 28 06:59 dmesg.3.gz
-rw-r----- 1 messagebus        adm    19983 Jan 27 07:55 syslog.3.gz

The last few lines of syslog.1 are:

Jan 28 20:55:30 avignon pulseaudio[7825]: [pulseaudio] pid.c: Daemon already running.
Jan 28 20:55:42 avignon goa[8118]: goa-daemon version 3.6.0 starting [main.c:112, main()]
Jan 28 20:55:46 avignon signond[8250]: signondaemon.cpp 345 init Failed to SUID root. Secure storage will not be available. 
Jan 28 20:57:42 avignon gnome-session[7875]: CRITICAL: gsm_manager_set_phase: assertion `GSM_IS_MANAGER (manager)' failed
Jan 28 20:57:42 avignon gnome-session[7875]: Gtk-CRITICAL: gtk_main_quit: assertion `main_loops != NULL' failed
Jan 28 20:57:42 avignon kernel: Kernel logging (proc) stopped.
Jan 28 20:57:42 avignon rsyslogd: [origin software="rsyslogd" swVersion="5.8.6" x-pid="1090" x-info="http://www.rsyslog.com"] exiting on signal 15.

The last few lines of kern.log are:

Jan 28 20:10:44 avignon kernel: [20707.335160] psmouse serio2: Touchpad at isa0060/serio2/input0 lost sync at byte 6
Jan 28 20:10:44 avignon kernel: [20707.369217] psmouse serio2: Touchpad at isa0060/serio2/input0 - driver resynced.
Jan 28 20:57:42 avignon kernel: Kernel logging (proc) stopped.

The first few lines of /etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf are

#
auth,authpriv.*                 /var/log/auth.log
*.*;auth,authpriv.none          -/var/log/syslog
#cron.*                         /var/log/cron.log
#daemon.*                       -/var/log/daemon.log
kern.*                          -/var/log/kern.log
#lpr.*                          -/var/log/lpr.log
mail.*                          -/var/log/mail.log
#user.*                         -/var/log/user.log

The date of the above configuration file is 30 March 2012.

The only two things I can think of is that some update somewhere has fragged my logging, or perhaps because I am trying out Gnome Shell (started at about the same time logging stopped) that I have "done something".

Any help greatly appreciated!

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have you rebooted since then? –  ImaginaryRobots Jan 30 '13 at 18:31
    
ImaginaryRobots, thanks for the suggestion. I have rebooted several times and to no obvious effect. Two things I should mention: 1) doesn't seem to matter if I'm in Unity or Gnome Shell 2) "ps" tells me that rsyslogd is running with parameter -c5 –  user85166 Jan 31 '13 at 1:14
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

From what I can see, your 50-default.conf file matches the default, so that's probably not the problem: http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~ubuntu-branches/ubuntu/quantal/rsyslog/quantal/view/head:/debian/50-default.conf

Happily, it looks like rsyslog has a config-checking mode that should help you troubleshoot what is actually going on. From their help page:

Rsyslog 3.21.1 and above has been enhanced to support extended configuration checking. It offers a special command line switch (-N1) that puts it into "config verfication mode". In that mode, it interprets and check the configuration file, but does not startup. This mode can be used in parallel to a running instance of rsyslogd.

To enable it, run rsyslog interactively as follows:

/path/to/rsyslogd -f/path/to/config-file -N1

You should also specify other options you usually give (like -c3 and whatever else). Any problems experienced are reported to stderr [aka "your screen" (if not redirected)].

http://www.rsyslog.com/doc/troubleshoot.html

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1  
ImaginaryRobots, you are leading me down a very interesting path here, thanks very much for your help. Using it, I have identified the problem, but I am now uncertain as to what to do to solve it. the message I get is rsyslogd: Could not open output pipe '/dev/xconsole' There is for sure no /dev/xconsole on my machine, which explains the problem. I tried invoking the "xconsole" command which made a similar complaint. Then I found this: askubuntu.com/questions/108924/… So I tried that, checks ok. Reboot.. –  user85166 Jan 31 '13 at 17:44
    
... and I have syslog back! ¡¡¡ Fantastic !!! thank you very much for the help! The only remaining mystery is what happened to /dev/xconsole... –  user85166 Jan 31 '13 at 17:49
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As mentioning above, the solution is to comment out the lines related to /dev/xconsole on the /etc/rsyslog.d/50-default.conf file.

Here's a related thread and how they solve the problem: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-general-1/log-files-are-empty-messages-syslog-mail-err-930916/

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maybe you can check some *.conf at /etc/rsyslog.d/ that have wrong config. example:

:msg, contains, 'xxxxx' /var/log/x.log

change to

:msg, contains "xxxxx" /var/log/x.log

that's what happened to me.

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