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Journal is the logging system provided by the systemd suite, specifically managed by the systemd-journald service. Unlike traditional logging methods in Linux which rely on plain-text log files (e.g., /var/log/syslog or /var/log/messages), the journal captures system and service messages in a binary format. This format ensures better indexing, querying, and verification capabilities.

The journal logs are stored in journal files. By default, these files are located at:

  • /run/log/journal/: For volatile logs, meaning they're stored in memory and will be lost after a reboot.
  • /var/log/journal/: For persistent logs, which are saved to disk and will persist across reboots.

If the directory /var/log/journal/ exists, logs will be stored persistently; otherwise, they will remain volatile. It's important to note that, due to its binary nature, the content of the journal cannot be read using regular text tools like cat or less. Instead, you would use the journalctl command to access, read, and query the logs.

To enable journal logging, set the global.tracing.method attribute to journal in the configuration file. For example:

method = "journal"
level = "info"