watch the growth of files
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Last updated: 

xtail watches the growth of files. It's like running a tail -f on a bunch of files at once. My favorite usage is:

$ xtail /var/log/*

You can specify both filenames and directories on the command line. If you specify a directory, it watches all the files in that directory. It will notice when new files are created (and start watching them) or when old files are deleted (and stop watching them).

The xtail program has been around for a long time. O'Reilly & Associates even included it in their Unix Power Tools book. A link to the 1989 release is included below. The 3B2 sitting in your cellar would love a copy.

19 Feb 2012 Update - I've included patches (to the 2.1 release) from Jari Aalto below, as 20120219-patch-aalto.zip. I've not reviewed the patches. Jari's patches include a fix for SIGQUIT under Cygwin, as well as some Debian patches.

xtail-2.1.tar.gz26.14 KB
xtail-july89.sh.gz (July 89 comp.sources.misc release)10.45 KB
20120219-patch-aalto.zip4.87 KB
Release history: 

Version 2.1 (05-Jun-2000) - Fixes a Y2K bug, replaces the fixed-length file list with a dynamically allocated one, and implements package configuration with GNU autoconf.


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latest version?

I was looking for the version that included the "fix" for watching when a file's inode changed (from way back in 2002). Did this fall out of favor?

I believe I migrated the most

I believe I migrated the most version to the current site. If there was another, drop me an email and I'll try to do some excavation.

I'm currently not doing any further development or support on xtail since GNU tail now incorporates its function.


GNU tail can tail a directory and watch for files to be created? I don't think so...