syslog-ng Open Source Edition 3.18 - Administration Guide

Preface Introduction to syslog-ng The concepts of syslog-ng Installing syslog-ng The syslog-ng OSE quick-start guide The syslog-ng OSE configuration file source: Read, receive, and collect log messages
How sources work default-network-drivers: Receive and parse common syslog messages internal: Collecting internal messages file: Collecting messages from text files wildcard-file: Collecting messages from multiple text files linux-audit: Collecting messages from Linux audit logs network: Collecting messages using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) nodejs: Receiving JSON messages from nodejs applications mbox: Converting local e-mail messages to log messages osquery: Collect and parse osquery result logs pipe: Collecting messages from named pipes pacct: Collecting process accounting logs on Linux program: Receiving messages from external applications python: writing server-style Python sources python-fetcher: writing fetcher-style Python sources snmptrap: Read Net-SNMP traps sun-streams: Collecting messages on Sun Solaris syslog: Collecting messages using the IETF syslog protocol (syslog() driver) system: Collecting the system-specific log messages of a platform systemd-journal: Collecting messages from the systemd-journal system log storage systemd-syslog: Collecting systemd messages using a socket tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Collecting messages from remote hosts using the BSD syslog protocol— OBSOLETE unix-stream, unix-dgram: Collecting messages from UNIX domain sockets stdin: Collecting messages from the standard input stream
destination: Forward, send, and store log messages
amqp: Publishing messages using AMQP elasticsearch: Sending messages directly to Elasticsearch version 1.x (DEPRECATED) elasticsearch2: Sending logs directly to Elasticsearch and Kibana 2.0 or higher file: Storing messages in plain-text files graphite: Sending metrics to Graphite Sending logs to Graylog hdfs: Storing messages on the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) Posting messages over HTTP http: Posting messages over HTTP without Java kafka: Publishing messages to Apache Kafka loggly: Using Loggly logmatic: Using mongodb: Storing messages in a MongoDB database network: Sending messages to a remote log server using the RFC3164 protocol (network() driver) osquery: Sending log messages to osquery's syslog table pipe: Sending messages to named pipes program: Sending messages to external applications pseudofile() python: writing custom Python destinations redis: Storing name-value pairs in Redis riemann: Monitoring your data with Riemann smtp: Generating SMTP messages (e-mail) from logs Splunk: Sending log messages to Splunk sql: Storing messages in an SQL database stomp: Publishing messages using STOMP syslog: Sending messages to a remote logserver using the IETF-syslog protocol syslog-ng: Forwarding messages and tags to another syslog-ng node tcp, tcp6, udp, udp6: Sending messages to a remote log server using the legacy BSD-syslog protocol (tcp(), udp() drivers) Telegram: Sending messages to Telegram unix-stream, unix-dgram: Sending messages to UNIX domain sockets usertty: Sending messages to a user terminal: usertty() destination Write your own custom destination in Java or Python Client-side failover
log: Filter and route log messages using log paths, flags, and filters Global options of syslog-ng OSE TLS-encrypted message transfer template and rewrite: Format, modify, and manipulate log messages parser: Parse and segment structured messages db-parser: Process message content with a pattern database (patterndb) Correlating log messages Enriching log messages with external data Statistics of syslog-ng Multithreading and scaling in syslog-ng OSE Troubleshooting syslog-ng Best practices and examples The syslog-ng manual pages Third-party contributions Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License About us

python: writing server-style Python sources

The Python source allows you to write your own source in Python. You can import external Python modules to receive or fetch the messages. Since many services have a Python library, the Python source makes integrating syslog-ng OSE very easy and quick.

You can write two different type of sources in Python:

  • Server-style sources that receives messages. Write server-style sources if you want to use an event-loop based, nonblocking server framework in Python, or if you want to implement a custom loop.

  • Fetcher-style sources that actively fetch messages. In general, write fetcher-style sources (for example, when using simple blocking APIs), unless you explicitly need a server-style source.

This section describes server-style sources. For details on fetcher-style sources, see python-fetcher: writing fetcher-style Python sources.

    The following points apply to using Python blocks in syslog-ng OSE in general.

  • Python parsers and template functions are available in syslog-ng OSE version 3.10 and later.

    Python destinations and sources are available in syslog-ng OSE version 3.18 and later.

  • Supported Python versions: 2.7 and 3.4+ (if you are using pre-built binaries, check the dependencies of the package to find out which Python version it was compiled with)

  • The Python block must be a top-level block in the syslog-ng OSE configuration file.

  • If you store the Python code in a separate Python file and only include it in the syslog-ng OSE configuration file, make sure that the PYTHON_PATH environment variable includes the path to the Python file, and export the PYTHON_PATH environment variable. For example, if you start syslog-ng OSE manually from a terminal and you store your Python files in the /opt/syslog-ng/etc directory, use the following command: export PYTHONPATH=/opt/syslog-ng/etc

    In production, when syslog-ng OSE starts on boot, you must configure your startup script to include the Python path. The exact method depends on your operating system. For recent Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, and CentOS distributions that use systemd, the systemctl command sources the /etc/sysconfig/syslog-ng file before starting syslog-ng OSE. (On openSUSE and SLES, /etc/sysconfig/syslog file.) Append the following line to the end of this file: PYTHONPATH="<path-to-your-python-file>", for example, PYTHONPATH="/opt/syslog-ng/etc"

  • The Python object is initiated every time when syslog-ng OSE is started or reloaded.


    If you reload syslog-ng OSE, existing Python objects are destroyed, therefore the context and state information of Python blocks is lost. Log rotation and updating the configuration of syslog-ng OSE typically involves a reload.

  • The Python block can contain multiple Python functions.

  • Using Python code in syslog-ng OSE can significantly decrease the performance of syslog-ng OSE, especially if the Python code is slow. In general, the features of syslog-ng OSE are implemented in C, and are faster than implementations of the same or similar features in Python.

  • Validate and lint the Python code before using it. The syslog-ng OSE application does not do any of this.

  • Python error messages are available in the internal() source of syslog-ng OSE.

  • You can access the name-value pairs of syslog-ng OSE directly through a message object or a dict.


Python sources consist of two parts. The first is a syslog-ng OSE source object that you define in your syslog-ng OSE configuration and use in the log path. This object references a Python class, which is the second part of the Python source. The Python class receives or fetches the log messages, and can do virtually anything that you can code in Python. You can either embed the Python class into your syslog-ng OSE configuration file, or store it in an external Python file.

source <name_of_the_python_source>{
            "option1" "value1",
            "option2" "value2"

python {
from syslogng import LogSource
from syslogng import LogMessage

class <name_of_the_python_class_executed_by_the_source>(LogSource):
    def init(self, options): # optional
        self.exit = False
        return True

    def deinit(self): # optional

    def run(self): # mandatory
        while not self.exit:
            # Must create a message
            msg = LogMessage("this is a log message")

    def request_exit(self): # mandatory
        self.exit = True

Methods of the python() source

Server-style Python sources must be inherited from the syslogng.LogSource class, and must implement at least the run and request_exit methods. Multiple inheritance is allowed, but only for pure Python super classes.

You can implement your own event loop, or integrate the event loop of an external framework or library, for example, KafkaConsumer, Flask, Twisted engine, and so on.

To post messages, call LogSource::post_message() method in the run method.

init(self, options) method (optional)

The syslog-ng OSE application initializes Python objects every time when it is started or reloaded. The init method is executed as part of the initialization. You can perform any initialization steps that are necessary for your source to work.


If you reload syslog-ng OSE, existing Python objects are destroyed, therefore the context and state information of Python blocks is lost. Log rotation and updating the configuration of syslog-ng OSE typically involves a reload.

When this method returns with False, syslog-ng OSE does not start. It can be used to check options and return False when they prevent the successful start of the source.

options: This optional argument contains the contents of the options() parameter of the syslog-ng OSE configuration object as a Python dict.

run(self) method (mandatory)

Use the run method to implement an event loop, or start a server framework or library. Create LogMessage instances in this method, and pass them to the log paths by calling LogSource::post_message().

Currently, run stops permanently if an unhandled exception happens.

For details on parsing and posting messages, see Python LogMessage API.

request_exit(self) method (mandatory)

The syslog-ng OSE application calls this method when syslog-ng OSE is shut down or restarted. The request_exit method must shut down the event loop or framework, so the run method can return gracefully. If you use blocking operations within the run() method, use request_exit() to interrupt those operations and set an exit flag, otherwise syslog-ng OSE is not able to stop. Note that syslog-ng OSE calls the request_exit method from a thread different from the source thread.

The deinit(self) method (optional)

This method is executed when syslog-ng OSE is stopped or reloaded. This method does not return a value.


If you reload syslog-ng OSE, existing Python objects are destroyed, therefore the context and state information of Python blocks is lost. Log rotation and updating the configuration of syslog-ng OSE typically involves a reload.

For the list of available optional parameters, see python() and python-fetcher() source options.

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