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Using ‘less’ command with special character interpretation

It is possible to use perl or bash for ascii colorization of output and send them to a log file. The advantage is that you can highlight errors, info messages etc in a log and view them later. The obvious disadvantage is that if your log file runs to a few thousand Kilobytes or more, you have to use the less command and the results are less than awesome.

For example,

A command like this:

tail -n 50 /root/wordpress_update.log

Normally results in:

MWSnap004 2013-04-02, 09_24_36


If less was used for piping:

tail -n 50 /root/wordpress_update.log | less

It now looks like this:

MWSnap005 2013-04-02, 09_27_21

Which is very ugly.

The solution is to use the -R switch in less:

tail -n 50 /root/wordpress_update.log | less -R

Which results in what you needed:

MWSnap006 2013-04-02, 09_29_23