For underdeveloped troubleshooting questions like this one I want to look at whole log files such as /var/log/syslog.1 or /var/log/kern.log.1, which can be several thousands of lines long.

How should users share this kind of information on Ask Ubuntu?

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  • This makes me wonder how we could help users remove or avoid posting sensitive information that could be contained in a log file. (For example, what if the user didn't realize that a program had saved their current latitude & longitude into the log?) I'm always nervous about that sort of thing happening to me. – Firefeather May 17 '11 at 21:13
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    @Firefeather This is an important issue. Perhaps we can learn from similar discussions about the collection of sensitive data in Apport. – ændrük May 17 '11 at 22:50
  • you mention a very good point. I haven't come across a discussion about sensitive data in Apport bug reporting, but I'm familiar with the warning in the Apport GUI. Do you, by chance, have a link to the discussion (and its possible resolution)? – Firefeather May 19 '11 at 17:38

I suggest using http://paste.ubuntu.com.

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  • What is a reasonable upper limit in file size for this utility? My web browser starts to crawl when I copy and paste twenty thousand lines of logs into a text field. – ændrük May 12 '11 at 20:51
  • 25k lines were no problem here, but copying from gedit failed, so I opened it in the browser and copied it from there. – htorque May 12 '11 at 20:58

In addition to htorque's suggestion of paste.ubuntu.com, I found there is a command line app that can be used to make it easier:

pastebinitInstall pastebinit

It's quite relevant considering ændrük's comment about problems pasting very large log into the browser.

An example:

df -h | pastebinit -b http://paste.ubuntu.com

The only question I have about paste.ubuntu.com is that there is no information about the expiry of the url and no explicit option to make it longer, such as dpaste.

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It is generally a bad idea to post enormous log files. Who is going to read an enormous wall of text? It's a disincentive to answering.

Generally, try to post the most relevant section of the log file, then link to the full file elsewhere.

Give it a shot, at least.. since the full file is linked, it's the best of both worlds.

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    I think a common problem is that for many users finding what's relevant in a wall of (obscure) text is the hard part. Hence wanting to paste up the whole shebang. There's always Ctrl+F to do a quick search once it's been posted to, say, paste.ubuntu.com. – boehj May 16 '11 at 2:09
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    Speaking as an answerer, it takes me a lot more energy to deal with askers who won't post full logs (Post all the lines containing sda. No, not the first five lines, all of them. No, actually I need to see /md. Ok, I see the first symptom, now I need everything before this line. No, that line) than to locate what's wrong in a long log (if I have a chance of knowing the answer). Posting partial logs is like posting partial error messages. Don't do it. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' May 19 '11 at 20:15
  • @gilles that's incompatible with our engine; you want 50,000 character log files in every post? Or, worse, just "FIX MY PROBLEM (link to log file)?" No thanks. – Jeff Atwood May 20 '11 at 3:49

Jeff's point is valid when you know what is the relevant part of the log - but when you don't, it's best to resort to Ubuntu Pastebin to "paste up the whole shebang" as boehj puts it.

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