Update 10/01/2018

svlogger can be easily replicated with vlogger(8), which is shipped with void-runit. This comment from Duncaen on reddit explains it:

I wrote vlogger(8) which works similar, by default it logs to syslog and if /etc/vlogger is an executable file it will exec into /etc/vlogger with the service name as argument.

The script would be something like this:

exec svlogd /var/log/$1

The main idea is to make it simple to switch from logging to syslog to svlogd by just creating /etc/vlogger. Its part of the runit-void package and services could be shipped with this as default at some point.

I created /etc/vlogger as an executable with the following contents:

mkdir -p "$logdir"
exec svlogd -tt "$logdir"

Updated my existing log services with:

cd /var/service
for f in */log/run; do sudo ln -svf /usr/bin/vlogger "$f"; done

And restarted them with:

sudo sv restart /var/service/*/log

The rest of the post is left here for historical purposes.

I’ve been using Void Linux on my laptop for the last month or so and it has just been fantastic; using runit to manage services has been so incredibly easy. I wrote vsv to make the output a little more colorful and the usage slightly easier, but even just using sv directly has just been great.

Coming from illumos, I’m used to having SMF (the Service Management Facility) to manage services and daemons. On Void, runit is way more bare bones and lightweight. One thing I really wanted that I had easily with SMF was logging. I didn’t need anything crazy or complicated, I just wanted to be able to quickly see what a daemon was doing and if it was experiencing any issues.

By default, most services under runit have their stdout discarded and their stderr sent to the process title of the runsvdir process controlling them. In my opinion, having logs sent to the process title of a running program is a really cool way of doing it, but I wanted something slightly more persistent and more consistent than parsing ps output.

I looked into running a syslogging daemon with runit, and it was surprisingly easy using socklog, but the socklog daemon didn’t solve the actual problem that I wanted to solve - having each service log to their own log file.

With that, svlogger was born.


GitHub Repo: https://github.com/bahamas10/svlogger

svlogger is a generic svlogd wrapper for runit services that is meant to be symlinked to /.../<service-name>/log/run. This script will automatically figure out the service name under which it is running and write out logs to a file under a directory with that service name using svlogd.

svlogger is a standalone bash script that can be put anywhere on your system. I personally use this script by installing it to /etc/sv and symlinking it to each service’s log directory as the run script. You can move the script into place with:

$ sudo make install
cp svlogger /etc/sv

And then, to enable logs for a single service:

# mkdir -p /var/service/my-service/log
# ln -s /etc/sv/svlogger /var/service/my-service/log/run

Within 5 seconds, runit will start the logger service and svlogd will write logs to /tmp/sv/log/my-service:

$ tail /tmp/sv/log/my-service/current
2018-09-19_21:52:51.30654 starting...
2018-09-19_21:52:52.30754 tick
2018-09-19_21:52:53.30926 tick
2018-09-19_21:52:54.31068 tick

To enable logs for all active services that don’t currently have a logger:

cd /var/service
for d in */; do
    sudo mkdir -p "$d/log"
    [[ -e $d/log/run ]] || sudo ln -s /etc/sv/svlogger "$d/log/run"

You can then view all of the logs generated with:

# tail -f /tmp/sv/log/*/current

I personally choose to write the logs to /tmp/sv since /tmp is a filesystem that lives in ram. This way, all logs will be wiped on a system reboot and they will not be unnecessarily stressing my system drive.

To log to a directory other than /tmp/sv, you can edit the script or pass a directory name as the first argument. If you choose to pass a directory name as an argument, you cannot symlink svlogger and instead will need to create a small wrapper script for svlogger. For example:


exec /etc/sv/svlogger /var/log/sv

This will cause my-service to output its logs to the newly created /var/log/sv/my-service directory.

Finally, with runit, stdout will go to the logger program (if it is set) and stderr will show up in the command line of the runsvdir program. To log stderr to the log file as well, you need to redirect stderr to stdout in your service’s run script. You can add an exec line like this to the top of your service’s run script:

exec 2>&1

vsv Integration

I added support for log services to vsv with version v1.2.0.

-l can be specified to show log services alongside the services themselves:

-t can be specified with -l to see the process tree as well:


vsv makes it easy to manage the log services, but, in my experience, the log services just work on their own for the most part and don’t need to be modified very often, if at all. svlogger execs svlogd, and that process handles log rotation automatically, restricting each service to 10mb max for all of the log files generated.

All logs for the services controlled by runit can be viewed with:

$ tail -f /tmp/sv/log/*/current