Should Ubuntu systemd journal logs be persistent by default?

Tobin Davis gruemaster at
Fri Nov 10 17:26:36 UTC 2017

I fully understand the need to minimize redundancy and performance
degradation that this incurs, which you don't want on every desktop or
embedded system.  But for production or test servers, this could prove
invaluable (I work in a high volume system validation lab where system
crashes are the norm).

My suggestion (at least for existing releases) is to document the process
for enabling persistent logging from the commandline, as this will allow
sysadmins to easily implement it for post reboot reviews on a selective
basis.  Having it documented in a central location that is easily searched
in google helps new sysadmins that would otherwise have to wade through
tons of documentation and google searches of irrelevant information (sorry,
not volunteering for this - too busy).

For 18.04, maybe a separate package or a package install prompt during
installation (similar to unattended-updates) could be implemented.

Just my suggestion.

Tobin Davis, Lab Engineer
Intel Corp

On Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 12:11 PM, Mark Stosberg <mark at> wrote:

> Some time around the 15.04 release, a policy change was made to quit
> making some logging persistent by default.
> A number of users did not realize there was a policy change until they
> went to debug something that happened on a previous boot, only to find the
> logs were missing. Some of these user responses are captured in the bug
> report below [1], which prompted this policy discussion.
> The change was made because of the introduction of systemd and the
> introduction of the `systemd journal` in addition to the existing `rsyslog`.
> The concern about making the systemd journal persistent by default is that
> some logs could end up duplicated between the systemd journald and rsyslog,
> along with disk space and performance concerns of the additional logging.
> On the other hand, having systemd journal logs persist seems to be a safer
> option: It a malicious app could cause or entice a reboot, it could erase
> logs of it's earlier activity. Also, deleting key logs at shutdown breaks a
> decades-log precedent of  system logs persisting through reboots.
> The compromise option seems to be make the systemd journal persistent by
> default, but minimize the amount of  logging that is sent to both rsyslog
> and systemd to mitigate resource considerations of duplicate logging.
> So the policy question here is: *should the systemd journal be persistent
> by default?*
>      Mark
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