rsyslogd does not log kernel messages to kern.log on Ubuntu 14.04.1 and OpenVZ

Problem: Logging dropped packets using iptables LOG policy did not work. Well, the precise problem was, that the messages did not end up in /var/log/kern.log (nor in any other log file), but they did show in 'dmesg' and /proc/kmsg.

This one was tough. Googling showed that this problem could be solved by uncommenting the line '$ModLoad imklog' in /etc/rsyslog.conf. This in turn caused kern.log to be filled with messages like 'imklog: error reading kernel log - shutting down: Bad file descriptor'. This in turn is probably caused by some strange interaction between Ubuntu and OpenVZ/virtualization combination, but initially I did not find the precise cause of the problem, nor a solution.

This link finally gives a clue what the problem is and also presents a working workaround:


Following the solution worked for me. In more detail:

Create file /etc/init/kmsg-pipe.conf with the following content:

# Ye Olde /proc/kmsg hack by Mike Gogulski 
# from http://www.nostate.com/4228/fixing-the-100-cpu-and-no-useful-output-imklogrsyslog-kernel-logging-problem-on-ubuntu-guests-under-xen-pv 
# This is free and unencumbered software released into the public domain under # the terms of the Unlicense [http://unlicense.org/]. 
description "/proc/kmsg pipe hack for rsyslogd" 
start on started rsyslog 
stop on stopped rsyslog 
        mkdir -p /var/run/rsyslogd || true 
        mkfifo /var/run/rsyslogd/kmsg || true 
        chown -R syslog /var/run/rsyslogd || true 
        chmod -R 700 /var/run/rsyslogd || true 
        exec dd bs=1 if=/proc/kmsg of=/var/run/rsyslogd/kmsg 

end script

This effectively creates a shadow copy of /proc/kmsg (using dd and a named pipe) which is accessible by the syslog user.

Then adapt /etc/rsyslog.conf to use this:

echo '$KLogPath /var/run/rsyslogd/kmsg' >> /etc/rsyslog.conf

Then execute the script and restart rsyslogd:

initctl start kmsg-pipe
service rsyslog restart

Now /var/log/kern.log should show kernel messages, for example iptables LOG output.