The idea is to either improve it or write a new "event viewer" application. Instead of opening logs manually (which is a non-user friendly process), the Event Viewer tool would use the info from the /etc/syslog.conf file to automatically find and open log files, according to event type (ex: instead of /var/log/mail). Other desirable features are: search inside log files (including zipped ones); better formatting for common events; better navigation options (filtering by time of the day, date, etc.); and better summary reports (log analysis tools).


Examining the system log is one of the basic administrative tasks in any modern OSs. For this reason, the graphical event viewer is already an integral part of some competitive OSs. It's also a unvaluable tool to help troubleshooting problems or to ask for remote support. The gnome-system-log is a working but crude tool to check system events; it's just a light visual skin over the existing log files, and does little to help a new user to find or understand the information stored there.

Please note that this is not to take anything from the usability of text-based log files, which are in many senses much superior to some of the existing alternatives; it's just that the current systems is not easy enough for normal users to make sense of, specially in a emergency.


Still not clear; the tool itself may be implemented over the existing gnome-system-log code, or it may be a entirely new tool written for Ubuntu (Dapper or later). The specification is being written with the intent to start the discussion.


To be written. (depends on whether gnome-system-log will be improved, or other tool will be written to replace it...)

Outstanding issues

  • Is this specification a valid goal for Dapper? Is it viable, or even inside the spirit of the Ubuntu development process?
  • Event correlation is too much of a job for now, but it's something worth keeping in mind while thinking about the architecture of such a tool.
  • The ability to backup up log files in a format suitable to send for tech support (filtered, and with integrated send-by-mail functionality) would be a nice feature to have.

ImprovedEventViewer (last edited 2008-08-06 16:23:04 by localhost)