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9.1 Read logs from a socket

Most of the main utilities are able to write their log files to a Unix Domain socket if configured that way. watchgnupg is a simple listener for such a socket. It ameliorates the output with a time stamp and makes sure that long lines are not interspersed with log output from other utilities. This tool is not available for Windows.

watchgnupg is commonly invoked as

watchgnupg --force $(gpgconf --list-dirs socketdir)/S.log

This starts it on the current terminal for listening on the standard logging socket (which is either ~/.gnupg/S.log or /var/run/user/UID/gnupg/S.log).

watchgnupg understands these options:


Delete an already existing socket file.

--tcp n

Instead of reading from a local socket, listen for connects on TCP port n.


Do not print the date part of the timestamp.


Enable extra informational output.


Print version of the program and exit.


Display a brief help page and exit.


$ watchgnupg --force --time-only $(gpgconf --list-dirs socketdir)/S.log

This waits for connections on the local socket (e.g. /home/foo/.gnupg/S.log) and shows all log entries. To make this work the option log-file needs to be used with all modules which logs are to be shown. The suggested entry for the configuration files is:

log-file socket://

If the default socket as given above and returned by "echo $(gpgconf –list-dirs socketdir)/S.log" is not desired an arbitrary socket name can be specified, for example socket:///home/foo/bar/mysocket. For debugging purposes it is also possible to do remote logging. Take care if you use this feature because the information is send in the clear over the network. Use this syntax in the conf files:

log-file tcp://

You may use any port and not just 4711 as shown above; only IP addresses are supported (v4 and v6) and no host names. You need to start watchgnupg with the tcp option. Note that under Windows the registry entry HKCU\Software\GNU\GnuPG:DefaultLogFile can be used to change the default log output from stderr to whatever is given by that entry. However the only useful entry is a TCP name for remote debugging.

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