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TAIL(1) User Commands TAIL(1)
tail - output the last part of files
tail [OPTION]... [FILE]...
Print the last 10 lines of each FILE to standard output. With more
than one FILE, precede each with a header giving the file name. With
no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.
Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options
keep trying to open a file even if it is inaccessible when tail
starts or if it becomes inaccessible later; useful when follow-
ing by name, i.e., with --follow=name
output the last N bytes
output appended data as the file grows; -f, --follow, and --fol-
low=descriptor are equivalent
-F same as --follow=name --retry
output the last N lines, instead of the last 10
with --follow=name, reopen a FILE which has not changed size
after N (default 5) iterations to see if it has been unlinked or
renamed (this is the usual case of rotated log files)
with -f, terminate after process ID, PID dies
-q, --quiet, --silent
never output headers giving file names
with -f, sleep for approximately S seconds (default 1.0) between
always output headers giving file names
--help display this help and exit
output version information and exit
If the first character of N (the number of bytes or lines) is a '+',
print beginning with the Nth item from the start of each file, other-
wise, print the last N items in the file. N may have a multiplier suf-
fix: b 512, k 1024, m 1024*1024.
With --follow (-f), tail defaults to following the file descriptor,
which means that even if a tail'ed file is renamed, tail will continue
to track its end. This default behavior is not desirable when you
really want to track the actual name of the file, not the file descrip-
tor (e.g., log rotation). Use --follow=name in that case. That causes
tail to track the named file by reopening it periodically to see if it
has been removed and recreated by some other program.
'_POSIX2_VERSION' COMPATIBILITY ISSUES:
On older systems, the leading '-' can be replaced by '+' in the obso-
lete option syntax with the same meaning as in counts, and obsolete
usage overrides normal usage when the two conflict. This obsolete
behavior can be enabled or disabled with the '_POSIX2_VERSION' environ-
ment variable, but portable scripts should avoid commands whose behav-
ior depends on this variable.
For example, use 'tail -- - main.c' or 'tail main.c' rather than the
ambiguous 'tail - main.c', 'tail -c4' or 'tail -c 10 4' rather than the
ambiguous 'tail -c 4', and 'tail ./+4' or 'tail -n +4' rather than the
ambiguous 'tail +4'. You can work around those compatibility problems
by setting '_POSIX2_VERSION=199209' in your environment.
Written by Paul Rubin, David MacKenzie, Ian Lance Taylor, and Jim Mey-
Report bugs to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Copyright (C) 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
This is free software. You may redistribute copies of it under the
terms of the GNU General Public License
<http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>. There is NO WARRANTY, to the
extent permitted by law.
The full documentation for tail is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If
the info and tail programs are properly installed at your site, the
should give you access to the complete manual.
tail 5.97 March 2012 TAIL(1)
© 1994 Man-cgi 1.15, Panagiotis Christias <email@example.com>