May 26, 2018

Watches the growth of files or directories

“xtail” watches the growth of files. It’s like running a “tail -f” on a bunch of files at once.

You can specify both filenames and directories on the command line. If you specify a directory, it watches all the files in that directory. It will notice when new files are created and start watching them or when old files are deleted and stop watching them.

This program is an oldie but goodie. It was posted to comp.sources.misc in July 1989 see I remember posting an even earlier version to alt.sources. It has been published in the O’Reilly & Associates “Unix Power Tools” collection book and CD-ROM. Over the years, some fly-by-night organizations such as the MIT X Consortium and SGI have tried to steal the “xtail” name. Don’t be fooled! Insist on the original.

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