Just a Jot

A series of semi-whenever somethings

06 Apr 2015

Creating and rotating log files from piped input

Say you have an application that sends logs to STDOUT and you want to capture that stream, log it to a file and rotate the files based on time and/or size. rotatelogs is a small utility bundled with Apache’s HTTPD that can do it for you.

I wrote a small sample program as a test, one that outputs a bunch of Lorem ipsum text to STDOUT (lorem):

package main

import (


func main() {
	for {
		fmt.Println(lorem.Paragraph(3, 8))
		time.Sleep(time.Duration(rand.Intn(1000)) * time.Millisecond)

This prints a Lorem ipsum paragraph between 3 and 8 sentences once every (pseudo) random 0 to 1000 milliseconds.

Once built, you can do this:

$ lorem | rotatelogs -l "lorem-%Y%m%d-%H%M%S.log" 86400 5M

This sends the output of lorem to a date/time based log file like lorem-20150406-120400.log and rotates the log every night at midnight and/or after the content reaches 5 megabytes in size.

The rotatelogs manfile includes other useful examples I recommend reading through.