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Old 04-25-2005, 03:21 PM   #1
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Registered: Apr 2005
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Question X Terminal Session Logging

Hi all,

I realize this is probably something of a FAQ in some circles, but all the keywords I can think of are way too broad, so Google has produced few answers...

I want to be able to keep logs of terminal sessions, mostly so that when I get something working I don't forget what I did by the next time I have to do it again, and partly so I can compare procedures on different machines & distros. I know that 'script' will keep a typescript, but aside from all the ugliness (and problems with searching) that the literal keystroke logging causes, I'm even more concerned about capturing information -- such as passwords -- that I *don't* want to archive.

Can anyone recommend an X terminal -- or a trick for X terminals in general -- that will log all output as it's shown in the terminal application? That is, commands that were tab-completed still would show as the resulting full command line, screen-grabbing programs such as vi, man, and less would only show what the X terminal would normally show after they exit (in many cases, the output of those commands would be lost, which is fine with me), and passwords would be left blank as they appear during the session itself? I hear that xterm is capable of doing this, if it's compiled from scratch with the option enabled, but even then I'm not sure it would do what I want (without literal keystroke logging), and I'd prefer a modern tabbed, menued X terminal anyway if possible.

I could always just increase my scrollback buffers and copy/paste, which would give exactly the results I want, but many compile jobs and the like scroll so far so fast that I would still miss a lot of information, while consuming far too much memory (especially once I've got a dozen or two open at a time), and spending a lot of time stopping to copy & paste every few minutes. Even if any X terminal apps would let one pipe the scrollback buffer to a file, that would be plenty good for me.

Any recommendations? Anybody tried to do this before? Thanks a million for any thoughts!
Old 04-26-2005, 03:15 PM   #2
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Registered: Apr 2005
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Ha ha!

I just thought of one cheezy hack to achieve what I'm looking for:

PuTTY runs under linux, and the logging that it does is *exactly* what I'm wanting; all I have to do is ssh to localhost, and I get exactly the level of safe logging that I want; passwords are omitted, and even formatting codes can be ignored if so desired. Plus, under fluxbox, I can still tab many instances together for easier window management.

Still, it's kind of awkward, and while PuTTY is a great SSH client, it's probably not meant for use as a general-purpose terminal; plus, I'm still curious to hear what anyone else might have tried. Has anyone ever seen any other terminal apps which can do this?



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