syslog-ng replacement for FreeBSD

FreeBSD uses syslog by default. However, syslog is very old and inflexible, so I decided to replace it with syslog-ng. syslog-ng syntax is far more easier to read and understand than syslog’s one.

syslog-ng uses the following elements to determine what to log and where to log it:

  • Source: Defines where log entries do come from. For example, syslog-ng can read log entries from the /var/run/log local socket, from the network via UDP port 514, via TCP, and so on.

    I just decided to split the sources in two:

    1. A local source, called src
    2. A network source, called net

    This allows easily to distinguish between locally generated log entries and log entries generated elsewhere by a network device or host machine.

  • Destination: Defines where do log entries will get logged into. For example, log entries can be written to a file, can be sent to another syslog-compatible server, sent to a socket, and so on.

    I have kept the default destinations, and added a new one called airport, pointing to file /var/log/airport.log. All log events generated by my AirPort Express Wireless Access Point will get logged into this destination.

  • Filter: Defines a matching criteria for log entries. Allows to distinguish log entries by some common attributes, like the source host, facility, logging level, a regular expression matching the entry description, and so on.

    I have kept the default filters, but added a new one called f_airport, which matches all log entries whose source is my Wireless Access Point.

Finally, log entries combine sources, filters and destinations. When a log entry is received, it is matched against every log rules until a source and a filter matches. Then, the log entry is sent to the destination or destinations for that matching rule.

Since I wanted to centralize some logs into my FreeBSD server across the network, concretely my AirPort Express logs, this is the /usr/local/etc/syslog-ng/syslog-ng.conf file I used to achieve it:

#
# options
#
options { long_hostnames(off); sync(0); };

#
# sources
#
source src { unix-dgram("/var/run/log");
             unix-dgram("/var/run/logpriv" perm(0600));
             internal(); file("/dev/klog"); };

source net { udp(); };

#
# destinations
#
destination messages { file("/var/log/messages"); };
destination security { file("/var/log/security"); };
destination authlog { file("/var/log/auth.log"); };
destination maillog { file("/var/log/maillog"); };
destination lpd-errs { file("/var/log/lpd-errs"); };
destination xferlog { file("/var/log/xferlog"); };
destination cron { file("/var/log/cron"); };
destination debuglog { file("/var/log/debug.log"); };
destination consolelog { file("/var/log/console.log"); };
destination all { file("/var/log/all.log"); };
destination newscrit { file("/var/log/news/news.crit"); };
destination newserr { file("/var/log/news/news.err"); };
destination newsnotice { file("/var/log/news/news.notice"); };
destination console { file("/dev/console"); };
destination allusers { usertty("*"); };
#destination loghost { udp("loghost" port(514)); };
destination airport { file("/var/log/airport.log"); };
destination linksys { file("/var/log/linksys.log"); };

#
# log facility filters
#
filter f_auth { facility(auth); };
filter f_authpriv { facility(authpriv); };
filter f_not_authpriv { not facility(authpriv); };
filter f_console { facility(console); };
filter f_cron { facility(cron); };
filter f_daemon { facility(daemon); };
filter f_ftp { facility(ftp); };
filter f_kern { facility(kern); };
filter f_lpr { facility(lpr); };
filter f_mail { facility(mail); };
filter f_news { facility(news); };
filter f_security { facility(security); };
filter f_user { facility(user); };
filter f_uucp { facility(uucp); };
filter f_local0 { facility(local0); };
filter f_local1 { facility(local1); };
filter f_local2 { facility(local2); };
filter f_local3 { facility(local3); };
filter f_local4 { facility(local4); };
filter f_local5 { facility(local5); };
filter f_local6 { facility(local6); };
filter f_local7 { facility(local7); };

#
# log level filters
#
filter f_emerg { level(emerg); };
filter f_alert { level(alert..emerg); };
filter f_crit { level(crit..emerg); };
filter f_err { level(err..emerg); };
filter f_warning { level(warning..emerg); };
filter f_notice { level(notice..emerg); };
filter f_info { level(info..emerg); };
filter f_debug { level(debug..emerg); };
filter f_is_debug { level(debug); };

#
# airport filter
#
filter f_airport { host("airport"); };

#
# linksys filter
#
filter f_linksys { host("linksys"); };

#
# *.err;kern.warning;auth.notice;mail.crit              /dev/console
#
log { source(src); filter(f_err); destination(console); };
log { source(src); filter(f_kern); filter(f_warning); destination(console); };
log { source(src); filter(f_auth); filter(f_notice); destination(console); };
log { source(src); filter(f_mail); filter(f_crit); destination(console); };


#
# *.notice;authpriv.none;kern.debug;lpr.info;mail.crit;news.err /var/log/messages
#
log { source(src); filter(f_notice); filter(f_not_authpriv); destination(messages); };
log { source(src); filter(f_kern); filter(f_debug); destination(messages); };
log { source(src); filter(f_lpr); filter(f_info); destination(messages); };
log { source(src); filter(f_mail); filter(f_crit); destination(messages); };
log { source(src); filter(f_news); filter(f_err); destination(messages); };

#
# security.*                                            /var/log/security
#
log { source(src); filter(f_security); destination(security); };

#
# auth.info;authpriv.info                               /var/log/auth.log
log { source(src); filter(f_auth); filter(f_info); destination(authlog); };
log { source(src); filter(f_authpriv); filter(f_info); destination(authlog); };

#
# mail.info                                             /var/log/maillog
#
log { source(src); filter(f_mail); filter(f_info); destination(maillog); };

#
# lpr.info                                              /var/log/lpd-errs
#
log { source(src); filter(f_lpr); filter(f_info); destination(lpd-errs); };

#
# ftp.info                                              /var/log/xferlog
#
log { source(src); filter(f_ftp); filter(f_info); destination(xferlog); };

#
# cron.*                                                /var/log/cron
#
log { source(src); filter(f_cron); destination(cron); };

#
# *.=debug                                              /var/log/debug.log
#
log { source(src); filter(f_is_debug); destination(debuglog); };

#
# *.emerg                                               *
#
log { source(src); filter(f_emerg); destination(allusers); };

#
# airport logging
#
log { source(net); filter(f_airport); destination(airport); };

#
# linksys logging
#
log { source(net); filter(f_linksys); destination(linksys); };

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3 thoughts on “syslog-ng replacement for FreeBSD

  1. Thank you for the example. I wish there were more documentation on syslog-ng and other non standard programs. I love freeBSD and don’t want to discourage newbies lime myself from using it, due to lack of documentation.

  2. I have a strange error – unknown facility console – in this line:
    filter f_console { facility(console); };

    All the rest is OK. I have FreeBSD 6.3
    Is it suppose to have diff. name???

  3. Excellent post! This really helped me get syslog-ng up and running with my Airport Extreme and NetBSD 5.0.2

    I had to end up changing the permissions on the airport.log file and also adding an entry to my hosts file (10.0.1.1 airport) but it works šŸ™‚

    Thank you!

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