Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

CI Maven Central BSD 3-Clause License Donate

Log4j appender that logs event meta data such as the timestamp, the logger name, the exception stacktrace, ThreadContext (aka MDC) or the Java thread name to fields in systemd journal (aka "the Journal") .

Read Lennart Poettering's blog post systemd for Developers III if you are not familar with systemd journal.

Usage with Log4j 2.x

Add the following Maven dependency to your project:


Usage with Log4j 1.x

See the 1.x branch of this project.

Runtime dependencies

  • Java 8 or later
  • Linux with systemd-journal
  • Log4j 2.x


JNA requires execute permissions in (which defaults to /tmp). For example, if the folder is mounted with "noexec" for security reasons, you need to define a different temporary directory for JNA:



The appender can be configured with the following properties

Property name Default Type Description
logSource false boolean Determines whether the log locations are logged. Note that there is a performance overhead when switched on. The data is logged in standard systemd journal fields CODE_FILE, CODE_LINE and CODE_FUNC.
logStacktrace true boolean Determines whether the full exception stack trace is logged. This data is logged in the user field STACKTRACE.
logThreadName true boolean Determines whether the thread name is logged. This data is logged in the user field THREAD_NAME.
logLoggerName true boolean Determines whether the logger name is logged. This data is logged in the user field LOG4J_LOGGER.
logAppenderName true boolean Determines whether the appender name is logged. This data is logged in the user field LOG4J_APPENDER.
logThreadContext true boolean Determines whether the thread context is logged. Each key/value pair is logged as user field with the threadContextPrefix prefix.
threadContextPrefix THREAD_CONTEXT_ String Determines how thread context keys should be prefixed when logThreadContext is set to true. Note that keys need to match the regex pattern [A-Z0-9_]+ and are normalized otherwise.
syslogIdentifier null String This data is logged in the syslog compatibility field SYSLOG_IDENTIFIER. If this is not set, the underlying system will use the command name (usually java) instead.
syslogFacility null Number This data is logged in the syslog compatibility field SYSLOG_FACILITY.



<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Configuration status="INFO" packages="de.bwaldvogel.log4j">
        <Console name="console" target="SYSTEM_OUT">
            <PatternLayout pattern="%d{HH:mm:ss.SSS} [%t] %-5level %logger{36} - %msg%n" />
        <SystemdJournal name="journal" logStacktrace="true" logSource="false" />
        <Root level="INFO">
            <AppenderRef ref="console" />
            <AppenderRef ref="journal" />

This will tell Log4j to log to systemd journal as well as to stdout (console). Note that a layout is optional for SystemdJournal. This is because meta data of a log event such as the timestamp, the logger name or the Java thread name are mapped to systemd-journal fields and need not be rendered into a string that loses all the semantic information.

import org.apache.logging.log4j.*;

class YourExample {

    private static Logger logger = LogManager.getLogger(YourExample.class);

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        ThreadContext.put("MY_KEY", "some value");"this is an example");

Running this sample class will log a message to journald:

Systemd Journal

# journalctl -n
Okt 13 21:26:00 myhost java[2370]: this is an example

Use journalctl -o verbose to show all fields:

# journalctl -o verbose -n
Di 2015-09-29 21:07:05.850017 CEST [s=45e0…;i=984;b=c257…;m=1833…;t=520e…;x=3e1e…]
    MESSAGE=this is a test message with a MDC
    THREAD_CONTEXT_MY_KEY=some value
    _CMDLINE=/usr/bin/java …

Note that the ThreadContext key-value pair {"MY_KEY": "some value"} is automatically added as field with prefix THREAD_CONTEXT.

You can use the power of systemd journal to filter for interesting messages. Example:

journalctl CODE_FUNC=testMessageWithMDC THREAD_NAME=main will only show messages that are logged from the Java main thread in a method called testMessageWithMDC.


We are happy to receive pull-requests if you want to contribute code to the project.

If you want to thank the author for this library or want to support the maintenance work, we are happy to receive a donation.


Related Work