logstalgia man page

Logstalgia — a web server access log visualization tool


logstalgia [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).


Set the window size. If -f is also supplied, will attempt to set the video mode to this also. Add ! to make the window non-resizable.
-b, --background
Background colour in hex.
-x --full-hostnames
Show full request ip/hostname.
-s, --simulation-speed
Simulation speed. Defaults to 1 (1 second-per-second).
-p, --pitch-speed
Speed balls travel across the screen (defaults to 0.15).
-u, --update-rate
Page Summary update speed. Defaults to 5 (5 seconds).
-g name,regex,percent[,colour]

Creates a new named summarizer group for requests for which a specified attribute (HOST, URI or response CODE) matches a regular expression. Percent specifies a vertical percentage of screen to use.

A colour may optionally be supplied in hexadecimal format (eg FF0000 for red) which will be applied to all labels and request balls matched to the group.


-g "HTML,URI=html?$,30"
-g "Lan,HOST=^192,30"
-g "Success,CODE=^[23],30"

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

If there is enough space remaining a catch-all group '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).
Read from STDIN, ignoring entries before the current time.
--from, --to 'YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss +tz'

Show entries from a specific time period.

If a time zone offset isn't specified the local time zone is used.

Example accepted formats:

"2012-06-30 12:00"
"2012-06-30 12:00:00 +12"

--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 paddle tokens shown in multi-paddle modes.
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.
-o, --output-ppm-stream FILE
Write frames as PPM to a file ('-' for STDOUT).
-r, --output-framerate FPS
Framerate of output (used with --output-ppm-stream).
--load-config CONFIG_FILE
Load a config file.
--save-config CONFIG_FILE
Save a config file with the current options.
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/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 user@example.com tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync

Supported Log Formats

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\" %>s %b"
NCSA Common Log Format with Virtual Host
"%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b"
NCSA extended/combined log format
"%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\""
NCSA extended/combined log format with Virtual Host
"%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>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.

Custom Log Format

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).

Recording Videos

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 pitch speed.
(F11) Window frame toggle
(F12) Screenshot
(Alt+Enter) Fullscreen toggle
(ESC) Quit


Written by Andrew Caudwell

Project Homepage: http://logstalgia.io


Catalyst IT (catalyst.net.nz)

For supporting the development and promotion of Logstalgia!