How to Email System Logs via the Terminal, Cron and SMTP


Every day I run a rsync job that transfers backups between two servers. The job is a two-part cronjob. As seen below:

30 23 * * * /home/<user>/ >/dev/null 2>&1
0 6 * * * killall rsync >/dev/null 2>&1;

The job starts at 11:30pm and is killed at 6am. The script that it calls does the following:

find /var/log/rsync/ -mtime +8 |xargs -I % sh -c 'rm -f %';
find /var/log/rsync/log.* |xargs -I % sh -c 'tar -rf /var/log/rsync/rsync.1.tar %; rm -f %';
rsync --bwlimit=1050 --protect-args --delete --size-only --copy-dirlinks --log-file=/var/log/rsync/log.`date +"%Y%m%d_%H%M%S"` -avP -e "ssh -T -o Compression=no -x" "/path/to/files/" "<user>@domain:/path/to/files/";

Basically it removed old logs, putting them into a nice tarball which it will delete periodically. Then it runs the backup script, creating a new log. Generally, I will log in peridocally and manually check the logs to make sure everything is working as it should. What I want to to do, simply, is to have it email the contents of the log every day, saving me the 30 seconds trouble of logging in and checking manually.

As I have a ‘proper’ mail server with SMTP/IMAP I want to us it to send the logs.

Installing and Configuring Packages:

sudo apt install mailutils ssmtp

Configure ssmtp by editing the main config file: /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf. Comment out all the other lines so your configuration looks like this:

You will need to have configured a mail user on your mail server. All users will send from the address. This isn’t a problem as the only mail I’m sending from this server are alerts and logs. In server environments where there are multiple users sending general mail this setup will not be appropriate.

Next, edit the revaliases file in the same directory. Add the details for the user who will be running the command to send email:

That’s the configuration done!

Test sending an email with the following:

echo "this is a test" | mail -s "Test Email"

Check the contents of the syslog:

:~$ tail -3 /var/log/syslog
Sep 26 08:47:21 servername sSMTP[23535]: Creating SSL connection to host
Sep 26 08:47:22 servername sSMTP[23535]: SSL connection using RSA_AES_128_CBC_SHA1
Sep 26 08:47:25 servername sSMTP[23535]: Sent mail for (221 2.0.0 Bye) uid=1000 username=localuser outbytes=4792


Automate sending the logs:

Change the crontab file with:

crontab -e

Add the email command to the end of the job that kills the process:

30 23 * * * /home/wargus/ >/dev/null 2>&1
0 6 * * * killall rsync >/dev/null 2>&1; cat /var/log/rsync/log* | mail -s "Rsync Log for `date`"

Further Reading:

Configuring Powershield UPS on Linux and Integrating into Zabbix


Like many IT people in Perth, Australia , I buy my gear for the most part from PLE computers. And that includes their uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). The most reasonably priced desktop grade UPS’s are the Powershield Defender series. Of which I have two:

  • Power Shield Defender LCD 650VA UPS (requiring the blazer_usb driver)
  • Power Shield Defender LCD 1.2KVA UPS (requiring the usbhid-ups driver)

On Windows I would simply plug in the devices and install their drivers. On Linux however, nothing is that simple. This guide will work through connecting and confguring the UPSs on Linux. As it’s important to know that status of the battery and know when its time to replace them, I also want to be able to monitor my UPSs using my monitoring solution – Zabbix.

Install Network UPS Tools

To get started, install the Network UPS tools.

sudo apt install nut

Identify Your UPS

The 1.2KVA identifies itself as:

:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0764:0501 Cyber Power System, Inc. CP1500 AVR UPS

And the 650KVA reports as:

:~$ lsusb
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 0665:5161 Cypress Semiconductor USB to Serial

Configure NUT

Edit /etc/ups.conf:

As they use different drivers, append the following to the end of the file, replacing the section in the brackets with your own name if you like:

# use either blazer_usb or usbhid-ups depending on your UPS
driver = blazer_usb
port = auto
desc = "Add your description"

Edit /etc/nut.conf and change:




Add users to the nut-monitor service. These users can change settings on the UPS or simply have read access on them. Edit the file /etc/nut/upsd.users. Un-comment and edit the lines:

password = yourpassword
actions = SET
instcmds = ALL
 password = yourotherpassword
 upsmon master

Creating the admin account will allow you to test or send commands to the UPS. More on that later.

As the instructions say in the file itself, edit the /etc/upsmon.conf file next. It is worth reading the options and setting them to your desired state, pay particular attention to the MONITOR section. Append the following to your file:

MONITOR defender@localhost 1 upsmon yourotherpassword master

Start the service with and check that everything is working:

$ sudo service nut-server restart
$ sudo service nut-server status
● nut-server.service - LSB: Network UPS Tools initscript
 Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/nut-server; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
 Active: active (running) since Fri 2017-09-15 16:08:42 AWST; 4s ago
 Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
 Process: 19871 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/nut-server stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Process: 19878 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/nut-server start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Tasks: 2
 Memory: 2.4M
 CPU: 50ms
 CGroup: /system.slice/nut-server.service
 ├─19906 /lib/nut/usbhid-ups -a defender
 └─19908 /lib/nut/upsd

Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Network UPS Tools initscript...
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas nut-server[19878]: * Starting NUT - power devices information server and drivers
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas usbhid-ups[19906]: Startup successful
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas upsd[19907]: listening on port 3493
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas upsd[19907]: not listening on ::1 port 3493
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas upsd[19907]: Connected to UPS [defender]: usbhid-ups-defender
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas upsd[19908]: Startup successful
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas nut-server[19878]: ...done.
Sep 15 16:08:42 atlas systemd[1]: Started LSB: Network UPS Tools initscript.

Testing and Configuring the UPS

Run the command below to get the current status of the UPS:

 $ sudo upsc defender@localhost

It will return a long list of values if it is successful.

Run a quick test of the battery with the admin account and check the progress:

$ sudo upscmd -u admin -p yourpassword defender test.battery.start.quick 
$ sudo upsc defender@localhost
ps.status: OL DISCHRG
ups.test.result: In progress
$ sudo upsc defender@localhost
ups.status: OL CHRG
ups.test.result: Done and passed

More commands for the blazer_usb UPS can be found here, the test command, at least, also works for the usbhid-ups driver too.

Having come this far you should have a basic UPS in a working configuration.

Configure Zabbix

download or clone the git repository to your computers with the UPS attached.

$ git clone
$ cd Zabbix-NUT-Template

Copy the files to their proper location:

$ sudo cp -r sh/ /etc/zabbix/
$ sudo cp zabbix_agentd.d/userparameter_nut.conf /etc/zabbix/zabbix_agentd.conf.d/

Restart the Zabbix services both on the agent and server.

sudo service zabbix-agent restart
sudo service zabbix-server restart

On your desktop, download/clone the git repository. Log into Zabbix. Follow the instructions and create the value mapping.

Import the Zabbix template. In the usual way and link it to your servers.

If you feel like it, create a new screen to monitor your UPS.

And you’re done! No more guessing and hoping your UPS’s haven’t swapped to battery when you’re away from home.



The Powershield UPS that uses the driver usbhid-ups has a habit of dropping out, with the error message that the data is stale. I attempted  a work around with a script with the following in /root/

#Get the error state:
ErrorState=`upsc defender@localhost 2>&1|grep -v SSL|cut -b 1-5|tail -1`;
#If the error state is equal to "Error" then restart the service
if [ $ErrorState = "Error" ]
 service nut-server restart
 echo "Restarting nut-server" >> /var/log/syslog

And edited the crontab for root with sudo crontab -e and add the following line:

* * * * * /bin/bash -l -c "/root/; sleep 30 ; /root/"

Unfortunately this did not resolve my issue! Eventually I played around with a few settings, ultimately arriving at adjusting the maxretry in ups.conf. Changing it to:


I also adjusted the polling interval to 60 seconds.


Big thanks to whom I mostly followed to get this working.
Blazer USB documentation:
Zabbix NUT templates:
NUT documentation page, which helped me to narrow down the drivers I needed:
I also referenced:

Useful Zabbix Templates

I’ve recently turned my attention to improving my monitoring solution: Zabbix. Zabbix has the ability to probe much more than just network information through the use of scripts and templates. I’ve recently installed three such templates:

The installation instructions for each were straightforward. Only Speedtest needed additional tweaking to work, specifically, speedtest-cli needed to be installed.