journald is the native logging system on Linux operating systems that use systemd with support for structured, indexed log storage. Eliot provides native journald support, with the following features:

  • The default message field (MESSAGE) stores the Eliot message as JSON.
  • Failed actions get priority 3 (“err”) and tracebacks get priority 2 (“crit”).
  • The ELIOT_TASK field stores the task UUID.
  • The ELIOT_TYPE field stores the message or action type if available.
  • The SYSLOG_IDENTIFIER stores sys.argv[0].


Journald requires additional libraries that are not installed by default by Eliot. You can install them by running:

$ pip install eliot[journald]

Generating logs

The following example demonstrates how to enable journald output.

Write some logs to journald.

from __future__ import print_function

from eliot import Message, start_action, add_destination
from eliot.journald import JournaldDestination


def divide(a, b):
    with start_action(action_type="divide", a=a, b=b):
        return a / b

print(divide(10, 2))
print(divide(10, 0))

Querying logs

The journalctl utility can be used to extract logs from journald. Useful options include --all which keeps long fields from being truncated and --output cat which only outputs the body of the MESSAGE field, i.e. the JSON-serialized Eliot message.

Let’s generate some logs:

$ python

We can find all messages with a specific type:

$ sudo journalctl --all --output cat ELIOT_TYPE=inbetween | eliot-prettyprint
32ab1286-c356-439d-86f8-085fec3b65d0 -> /1
2015-09-23 21:26:37.972403Z
  message_type: inbetween

We can filter to those that indicate errors:

$ sudo journalctl --all --output cat --priority=err ELIOT_TYPE=divide | eliot-prettyprint
ce64eb77-bb7f-4e69-83f8-07d7cdaffaca -> /2
2015-09-23 21:26:37.972945Z
  action_type: divide
  action_status: failed
  exception: exceptions.ZeroDivisionError
  reason: integer division or modulo by zero

We can also search by task UUID, in which case eliot-tree can also be used to process the output:

$ sudo journalctl --all --output cat ELIOT_TASK=ce64eb77-bb7f-4e69-83f8-07d7cdaffaca | eliot-tree
+-- divide@1/started
    |-- a: 10
    |-- b: 0
    `-- timestamp: 2015-09-23 17:26:37.972716
    +-- divide@2/failed
        |-- exception: exceptions.ZeroDivisionError
        |-- reason: integer division or modulo by zero
        `-- timestamp: 2015-09-23 17:26:37.972945