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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  LOGSTALGIA (1)


Logstalgia - a web server access log visualization tool


Supported Log Formats
Custom Log Format
Recording Videos


logstalgia [-f] [-WIDTHxHEIGHT] [options] logfile


logstalgia is a visualization tool that replays or streams web server access logs as a retro arcade game simulation.


logstalgia’s display is rendered using OpenGL and requires a 3D accelerated video card to run.

Logstalgia supports several standardized access.log formats used by web servers such as Apache and Nginx (see ’SUPPORTED LOG FORMATS’ below).

As logstalgia is designed to playback logs in real time you will need a log from a fairly busy webserver to achieve interesting results (eg 100s of requests each minute).


-f Fullscreen.
  Set the window size. If -f is also supplied, will attempt to set the video mode to this also.
-b, --background
  Background colour in hex.
-x --full-hostnames
  Show full request ip/hostname.
-s, --speed
  Simulation speed. Defaults to 1 (1 second-per-second).
-u, --update-rate
  Page Summary update speed. Defaults to 5 (5 seconds).
-g name,regex,percent[,colour]
  Urls matching the given regex will appear under a new section with the given name using the given percentage of the screen. Colour may optionally be supplied in the common hexadecimal format (eg FF0000 for red)

If no groups are supplied the default groups are Images (image files), CSS (.css files) and Scripts (.js files).

If there is enough space remaining a catch-all group of Misc will appear as the last group.

--paddle-mode MODE
  Paddle mode (pid, vhost, single).

vhost - separate paddle for each virtual host in the log file.

pid - separate paddle for each process id in the log file.

single - single paddle (the default).

--paddle-position POSITION
  Paddle position as a fraction of the view width (0.25 - 0.75).
--sync Read from STDIN, ignoring entries before the current time.
--start-position POSITION
  Begin at some position in the log file (between 0.0 and 1.0).
--stop-position POSITION
  Stop at some position.
  No bouncing.
  Hide response code.
  Hide paddle.
  Hide URL protocol and hostname prefix of requests.
  Disable automatic skipping of empty time periods.
  Disable the progress bar.
  Disable the glow effect.
--font-size SIZE
  Font size.
  Duration of the glow (between 0.0 and 1.0).
  Adjust the amount of glow.
  Intensity of the glow.
--output-ppm-stream FILE
  Write frames as PPM to a file (’-’ for STDOUT).
--output-framerate FPS
  Framerate of output (used with --output-ppm-stream).
  The path to the access log file to read or ’-’ if you wish to supply log entries via STDIN.


Watch an example access.log using the default settings:

   logstalgia /usr/local/share/logstalgia/example.log

Watch the live access.log, starting from the most recent batch of entries in the log (requires tail). Note than ’-’ at the end is required for logstalgia to know it needs to read from STDIN:

   tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia -

To follow the log in real time, use the --sync option. This will start reading from the next entry received on STDIN:

   tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync

Watch a remote access.log via ssh:

   ssh tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync


Logstalgia supports the following standardized log formats used by web servers like Apache and Nginx:

   NCSA Common Log Format (CLF)    
"%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %gt;s %b"

   NCSA Common Log Format with Virtual Host    
"%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %gt;s %b"

   NCSA extended/combined log format    
"%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %gt;s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\""

   NCSA extended/combined log format with Virtual Host    
"%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %gt;s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\""

The process id (%P), or some other identifier, may be included as an additional field at the end of the entry. This can be used with ’--paddle-mode pid’ where a separate paddle will be created for each unique value in this field.


Logstalgia now supports a pipe (’|’) delimited custom log file format:

   timestamp - unix timestamp of the request date.    hostname - hostname of the request    path - path requested    response_code - the response code from the webserver (eg 200)    response_size - the size of the response in bytes

The following are optional:

   success - 1 or 0 to indicate if successful    response_colour - response colour in hexidecial (#FFFFFF) format    referrer url - the referrer url    user agent - the user agent    virtual host - the virtual host (to use with --paddle-mode vhost)    pid - process id or some other identifier (--paddle-mode pid)

If success or response_colour are not provided, they will be derived from the response_code using the normal HTTP conventions (code < 400 = success).


See the guide on the homepage for examples of recording videos with Logstalgia:


The time shown in the top left of the screen is set initially from the first log entry read and is incremented according to the simulation speed (-s).

The counter in the bottom right hand corner shows the number of requests displayed since the start of the current session.

Pressing space at any time will pause/unpause the simulation. While paused you may use the mouse to inspect the detail of individual requests.

Interactive keyboard commands:

   (q) Debug Information    (c) Displays Logstalgia logo    (n) Jump forward in time to next log entry.    (+-) Adjust simulation speed.    (<>) Adjust time scale.    (ESC) Quit


 Written by Andrew Caudwell

Project Homepage:


 Copyright (C) 2008 Andrew Caudwell (

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.


 Catalyst IT (

For supporting the development and promotion of Logstalgia!

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