24 March 2015

For the tail, there is option -f and there is option -F. Which one to use? What is the difference? Most of the time, I use -F since it works with log rotation etc.

-F is equivalent to --follow=name --retry. It is useful when log files would be renamed or deleted, which is not uncommon in systems with log rotation.

  • This option ensures that we are following the latest log. In contrast, if we use tail -f log_file, we will be following that particular file even if it is renamed to log_file.1 or deleted and hence miss new log messages.
  • Another cool thing about -F is that you can launch the tail command before log files are created.

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