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A Note on File Names and Locations

The wtmp and acct files seem to live in different places and have different names for every variant of u*x that exists. The name wtmp seems to be standard for the login accounting file, but the process accounting file might be acct or pacct on your system. To find the actual locations and names of these files on your system, specify the --help flag to any of the programs in this package and the information will dumped to standard output.

Regardless of the names and locations of files on your system, this manual will refer to the login accounting file as wtmp and the process accounting files as acct, savacct, and usracct.


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Support for Multiple Accounting File Formats under Linux

The detailed format of the acct file written by the Linux kernel varies depending on the kernel's version and configuration: Linux kernels 2.6.7 and earlier write a v0 format acct file which unfortunately cannot store user and group ids (uid/gid) larger than 65535. Kernels 2.6.8 and later write the acct file in v1, v2 or v3 formats. (v3 if BSD_PROCESS_ACCT_V3 is selected in the kernel configuration, otherwise v1 if on the m68k architecture or v2 everywhere else).

Since version 6.4 the GNU accounting utilities on Linux systems are able to read all of the v0, v2 and v3 file formats (v1 is not supported). Thus you do not need to worry about the details given above. You can even read acct files where different records were written by differently configured kernels (you can find out about the format of each entry by using the dump-acct utility). In case you ever need to convert an acct file to a different format, the --raw option of dump-acct does that together with the new --format and --byteswap options that determine format and byte order of the output file.

Multiformat support under Linux is intended to be a temporary solution to aid in switching to the v3 acct file format. So do not expect GNU acct 6.7 to still contain Multiformat support. In a few years time, when everybody uses the v3 format, the ability to read multiple formats at runtime will probably be dropped again from the GNU accounting utilities. This does not, however, affect the ability to adapt to the acct file format at compile time (when ./configure is run). Even GNU acct 6.3.5 (that does not know about multiple file formats) will yield working binary programs when compiled under a (as yet hypothetical) Linux kernel 2.6.62 that is only able to write the v3 format.


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History of the Accounting Utilities

I don't have any idea who originally wrote these utilities. If anybody does, please send some mail to noel@gnu.ai.mit.edu and I'll add your information here!

Since the first alpha versions of this software in late 1993, many people have contributed to the package. They are (in alphabetical order):

Eric Backus <ericb@lsid.hp.com>

Suggested fixes for HP-UX 9.05 using /bin/cc: configure assumed you were using gcc and tacked on -Wall etc. He also noticed that file_rd.c was doing pointer arithmetic on a void * pointer (non-ANSI).

Christoph Badura <bad@flatlin.ka.sub.org>

Christoph was a BIG HELP in computing statistics, most notably k*sec stuff! He also did Xenix testing and contributed some Makefile fixes and output optimizations.

Michael Calwas <calwas@ttd.teradyne.com>

Fixed bugs in mktime.c.

Derek Clegg <dclegg@apple.com>

Suggested the simple, elegant fix for *_rd_never_used brain-damage.

Alan Cox <iiitac@pyr.swan.ac.uk>

Original Linux kernel accounting patches.

Scott Crosby <root@hypercube.res.cmu.edu>

Suggested idea behind --sort-real-time for sa.

Solar Designer <solar@false.com>

Added code for --ahz flag in lastcomm and sa.

Dirk Eddelbuettel <edd@miles.econ.queensu.ca>

Managed bug-fixes & etc. for Debian distribution, as well as the architect of merge of GNU + Debian distributions. A big thanks to Dirk for kicking me back into gear again after a long period of no work on this project.

Jason Grant <jamalcol@pc-5530.bc.rogers.wave.ca>

Identified a buffer-overrun bug in sa.

Kaveh R. Ghazi <ghazi@caip.rutgers.edu>

Tested the package on many systems with compilers other than gcc. Fixed K&R C support.

Susan Kleinmann <sgk@sgk.tiac.net>

Contributed excellent man pages!

Alexander Kourakos <Alexander@Kourakos.com>

Inspired the --wide option for last.

Marek Michalkiewicz <marekm@i17linuxb.ists.pwr.wroc.pl>

Suggested the --ip-address flag for last.

David S. Miller <davem@caip.rutgers.edu>

Noticed missing GNU-standard makefile rules.

Walter Mueller <walt@pi4.informatik.uni-mannheim.de>

Noticed install target was missing, and corrected a typo for prefix in Makefile.in.

Ian Murdock <imurdock@gnu.ai.mit.edu>

Tracked down miscellaneous bugs in sa.c under Linux. Added Debian package maintenance files.

Tuomo Pyhala <tuomo@lesti.kpnet.fi>

Reported buggy --strict-match flag in lastcomm.

Tim Schmielau <tim@physik3.uni-rostock.de>

Added Linux multiformat support.

Luc I. Suryo <root@patriots.nl.mugnet.org>

Suggested the --user flag for lastcomm.

Pedro A M Vazquez <vazquez@iqm.unicamp.br>

Fixed bugs in sa.c and tested under FreeBSD.

Marco van Wieringen <Marco.van.Wieringen@mcs.nl.mugnet.org>

Modified (wrote?) Linux kernel accounting patches.


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