tailf (1) - Linux Man Pages

tailf: follow the growth of a log file


tailf - follow the growth of a log file


tailf [OPTION] file


tailf will print out the last 10 lines of a file and then wait for the file to grow. It is similar to tail -f but does not access the file when it is not growing. This has the side effect of not updating the access time for the file, so a filesystem flush does not occur periodically when no log activity is happening.

tailf is extremely useful for monitoring log files on a laptop when logging is infrequent and the user desires that the hard disk spin down to conserve battery life.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

-n, --lines=N, -N
output the last N lines, instead of the last 10.
-V, --version
Output version information and exit.
-h, --help
Display help and exit.


This program was originally written by Rik Faith (faith [at] acm.org) and may be freely distributed under the terms of the X11/MIT License. There is ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY for this program.

The latest inotify based implementation was written by Karel Zak (kzak [at] redhat.com).


The tailf command is part of the util-linux package and is available from ftp://ftp.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/.


tail(1), less(1)