[arch-general] back up /var/log before shutdown

Dennis Herbrich dennis at archlinux.org
Wed Jun 20 05:36:23 EDT 2012

On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 10:36:17AM +0200, Arno Gaboury wrote:
> add this in my */etc/rc.local.shutdown*:
> |*echo "Copying LOGs..."
> now=`date +"%Y%m%d_%Hh%M"`
> mkdir -p /logs_backup/$now
> cp -Rp /var/log/* ~/backup/logs_backup/$now/*
> My ~ folder is on another HD.
> Will this script be enough to do the job?

Depends on your job description. ;)

If your system crashes (hah, as if ever!) or becomes unresponsive, you're
screwed, as rc.local.shutdown is likely not called and your logs are lost after
reboot. This is probably not what you want.

If you've got suitable network infrastructure, you may want to instruct
syslog-ng to forward the logs to a remote logging daemon in addition to the
local ramdisk. This is nice and clean, given a stable network connection to a
suitable machine to work as a logging daemon.

Just a desktop machine or no independent server available? It may be enough for
your purposes to use logrotate to copy over the logs properly to a safe mass
storage device in regular intervals. Maybe hourly. This, however, won't help
you much in case of kernel panic, either. It's better than rolling your own
regular rotation with cron and shell, though.

Feeling old-school? Setup a printer to receive critical(!) logs. For bonus
points, use a 9-pin matrix printer. If you hear it screeching, you know
something's horribly wrong. Free notification to boot!

Alternatively, if you need critical(!) log messages even after a crash, you may
want to configure syslog-ng to only(!) log such critical messages directly to a
file on you mass storage device. Output should be scarce as not to unduly put
your flash memory under stress.

Lots of possibilities. Choose wisely.

Best regards,

"Den Rechtsstaat macht aus, dass Unschuldige wieder frei kommen."
  Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, Bundesinnenminister (14.10.08, TAZ-Interview)

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