Re: Log tools

From: Bradford L. Barrett (brad@mrunix.net)
Date: Wed, Apr 28 1999


Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 14:09:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Bradford L. Barrett" <brad@mrunix.net>
To: www-wca@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.96.990428133239.9490C-100000@ns.eurobase.net>
Subject: Re: Log tools


> Do we have any guidlelines on how to interpret logs, what to look for.  I
> see a need for user education to improve accuracy and understanding. 

As the author of the Webalizer, a web server log file analysis tool
(http://www.mrunix.net/webalizer/), I have found that there are a
lot of people out there running servers that have no clue as to what
is possible/not possible regarding the analysis of their logs.  Some
of the available tools out there do not help matters either, claiming
all sorts of statistics that simply cannot be produced using existing
logs (with any real accuracy).

One of my design goals was to produce the most accurate statistics
possible, which is why some of the 'features' that other analysis
tools claim to have are not included in my code.  Being an open-
source project, I don't need to generate the marketing hype that
some of the commercial packages must, in order to sell their product.
But it is this marketing hype that misleads users into believing
that certain statistics are possible, and worse, accurate.  I think
that industry sponsored guidelines (call them what you want) would
do a great deal towards end-user education and understanding.  I
don't see how accuracy would be increased though, except perhaps
by allowing users to realize that some of the statistics generated
are less accurate than what they were lead to believe.

By the way, for those interested, the latest version (1.22-03) of
the Webalizer was released last month, and is by far the most
stable version to date.  Several members of the W3C, NCSA and some
other large site admins helped in the debugging of the code, which
now routinely handles analysis of sites with an excess of 50 million
hits a month.  It's is GPL code, so anyone who wants to take a look
"under the hood" can do so.

--
Bradford L. Barrett                      brad@mrunix.net
A free electron in a sea of neutrons     DoD#1750 KD4NAW

The only thing Micro$oft has done for society, is make people
believe that computers are inherently unreliable.