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Bootlogd records boot messages.
If you use systemd as your init system, you may need to use systemctl to debug boot problems.
As of Wheezy, the bootlogd package is automatically started as a daemon in the normal way (with a sys-V like init.d script). No config file any more.
Prior to Wheezy you activate bootlogd by editing /etc/default/bootlogd, this is not enabled by default:
# Run bootlogd at startup ? BOOTLOGD_ENABLE=yes
When the system is restarted, userspace messages will be logged to /var/log/boot.
Reading /var/log/boot file
Parts of a boot message sometimes can be wrapped with an ASCII color sequences, e.g. "failed" string after unsuccessful init action. bootlogd writes ^[ characters to its log file instead of actual ASCII escape character. To view colored strings via less as expected, you must replace ^[ characters with actual escape character and tell less to output ASCII color escape sequences in "raw" form:
sed 's/\^\[/\E/g' /var/log/boot | less -R
On bootlogd version 2.88 (Wheezy), a date stamp is added in front of the boot message.Consequently, the ok, fail etc. messages overwrite part of the date stamp. The cursor repositioning escape sequence [1G must be replaced by [27G to offset the cursor before printing the ok, fail, info etc. strings.
sed 's/\^\[/\E/g;s/\[1G\[/\[27G\[/' /var/log/boot
Discussion on howto display the bootlgd generated file
If /var/log is a separate mount, bootlogd may not correctly log to /var/log/boot. In this case using another log file should resolve the issue for now. This can be done by editing /etc/init.d/bootlogd and adding a log target to the options. Find the line with BOOTLOGD_OPTS and change it to something like this:
BOOTLOGD_OPTS="-r -c -l /root/boot.log"
(As of 2014 purging and reinstalling bootlogd should fix this.)