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Linux commands: tail

A quick guide to the tail command, used to watch files for changes

The best use case of tail in my opinion is when called with the -f option. It opens the file at the end, and watches for file changes. Any time there is new content in the file, it is printed in the window. This is great for watching log files, for example:

tail -f /var/log/system.log

To exit, press ctrl-C.

You can print the last 10 lines in a file:

tail -n 10 <filename>

You can print the whole file content starting from a specific line using + before the line number:

tail -n +10 <filename>

tail can do much more and as always my advice is to check man tail.

This command works on Linux, macOS, WSL, and anywhere you have a UNIX environment

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