Mystical Server Shutdown.

Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Thu Sep 18 07:09:49 UTC 2008

Grant Peel wrote:
> Hi all,
> I started getting watchmouse errors about on pf my servers not 
> responding. There is a DRAC on the machine, and the sensor data was all 
> good. When I got the machine back up and running, I seen this in lastlog:
> client1         ftp      hostname1here  Wed Sep 17 17:02 - shutdown  
> (00:46)
> client2         ftp      hostname2here  Wed Sep 17 17:02 - shutdown  
> (00:46)
> client2         ftp      hostname2here  Wed Sep 17 17:02 - shutdown  
> (00:46)
> client3         ftp      hostname3here  Wed Sep 17 17:01 - 17:06  (00:04)
> Should I be worried about seeing 'shutdown' in an ftp line of last?

That just means the ftp user was still logged in at the time the
system shut down.

> If not, how would you suggest I find the process or program that issued 
> the shutdown command?

Read the system logs, basically.  /var/log/messages or /var/log/all.log
(if you've enabled it).  The shutdown(8) command will always write
syslog messages when invoked.  halt(8) or reboot(8) will write a 'shutdown'
record into wtmp (ie. look at 'last shutdown') but don't log anything
to syslog.

However, you're quite likely to find that there is nothing in the log
or wtmp files to explain what happened.  All this means is that the
system went down suddenly -- perhaps power dropped out momentarily, or
a thermal cutout tripped or the system panic'd for one of any number of 
reasons.  You'ld be able to detect log file traces showing fsck(8)
being run on the root f/s following any of those sort of unclean shutdowns, and if the system panic'd then you may well have a core dump sitting in /var/db/crash -- depends whether you've enabled that functionality or not.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                   7 Priory Courtyard
                                                  Flat 3
PGP:     Ramsgate
                                                  Kent, CT11 9PW

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