conf/100616: [patch] syslog.conf: lines after exclamation point ignored

David Malone dwmalone at
Tue Oct 7 08:50:04 UTC 2008

The following reply was made to PR conf/100616; it has been noted by GNATS.

From: David Malone <dwmalone at>
To: Royce Williams <royce at>
Cc: David Malone <dwmalone at>, bug-followup at,
    dwmalone at
Subject: Re: conf/100616: [patch] syslog.conf: lines after exclamation point ignored 
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2008 09:42:50 +0100

 > The syslog.conf manpage says that respecting '#!' is to maintain 
 > compatibility with a previous version of syslog.  Looking back at 
 > syslog.conf and syslogd.c, it looks like support for this was added 
 > in rev 1.3 back in December 1994, but I don't see anything that shows 
 > when the previous version of syslog was replaced.
 I think the idea is that you could share a syslog.conf between
 machines, some of which support the "#!" notation and some of which
 don't. For example, we used to share a syslog.conf between FreeBSD
 and SunOS machines.
 > +#   Commenting out program specifications will not work as expected.
 > +#   For backwards compatibility with the previous syslog, lines
 > +#   starting with '#!' have a purpose and are NOT commented out.
 > +#   See 'program specification' in the syslog.conf(5) manpage.
 Something like this would be good...
 > ... or something less chatty.  Is sending this to you sufficient, or 
 > should I add it to the PR?
 Personally, I think snappier would be better I think - how about:
 # NB: To comment out lines starting with a "!" use "##" - see syslog.conf(5).
 > Now about the possible bug.  Even if commenting out the !startslip 
 > doesn't really comment it out, but instead triggers this legacy 
 > support, why would all subsequent unrelated configuration lines get 
 > ignored?  From my testing, any lines added after the example '!' lines
 > are ignored entirely.  Surely that's not part of the functionality?  
 > Or am I missing something?  Are you able to recreate the symptom that 
 > I'm seeing, as described in the PR?
 The program specification (or a host specification) applies to all
 subsequent lines, until it is reset. To reset it, you need to have
 a line that says:
 or the equivelent "#!*". This is explained in the man page below
 in the paragraph after host specifications, but we've had several
 people confused about it, so I suspect the man page is not clear
 enough. If you have an idea bout how to make it clearer, let me

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