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Logging and logger configuration demo

See the logging page for details on available functionality.

In this demo, different types of log calls are shown and the severity level of different loggers is configured locally and externally.

Start the demo with:

ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main

Over time you will see output from various log calls with different properties. To start with you will only see output from log calls with severity INFO and above (WARN, ERROR, FATAL). Note that the first message will only be logged once, though the line is reached on each iteration, as that is a property of the log call used for that message.

Logging directory configuration


The logging directory can only be configured starting in Galactic.

The logging directory can be configured through two environment variables: ROS_LOG_DIR and ROS_HOME. The logic is as follows:

  • Use $ROS_LOG_DIR if ROS_LOG_DIR is set and not empty.

  • Otherwise, use $ROS_HOME/log, using ~/.ros for ROS_HOME if not set or if empty.

For example, to set the logging directory to ~/my_logs:

export ROS_LOG_DIR=~/my_logs
ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main

You will then find the logs under ~/my_logs/.

Alternatively, you can set ROS_HOME and the logging directory will be relative to it ($ROS_HOME/log). ROS_HOME is intended to be used by anything that needs a base directory. Note that ROS_LOG_DIR has to be either unset or empty. For example, with ROS_HOME set to ~/my_ros_home:

export ROS_HOME=~/my_ros_home
ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main

You will then find the logs under ~/my_ros_home/log/.

Logger level configuration: programmatically

After 10 iterations the level of the logger will be set to DEBUG, which will cause additional messages to be logged.

Some of these debug messages cause additional functions/expressions to be evaluated, which were previously skipped as DEBUG log calls were not enabled. See the source code of the demo for further explanation of the calls used, and see the rclcpp logging documentation for a full list of supported logging calls.

Logger level configuration: externally

In the future there will be a generalized approach to external configuration of loggers at runtime (similar to how rqt_logger_level in ROS 1 allows logger configuration via remote procedural calls). This concept is not yet officially supported in ROS 2. In the meantime, this demo provides an example service that can be called externally to request configuration of logger levels for known names of loggers in the process.

The demo previously started is already running this example service. To set the level of the demo’s logger back to INFO, call the service with:

ros2 service call /config_logger logging_demo/srv/ConfigLogger "{logger_name: 'logger_usage_demo', level: INFO}"

This service call will work on any logger that is running in the process provided that you know its name. This includes the loggers in the ROS 2 core, such as rcl (the common client library package). To enable debug logging for rcl, call:

ros2 service call /config_logger logging_demo/srv/ConfigLogger "{logger_name: 'rcl', level: DEBUG}"

You should see debug output from rcl start to show.

Using the logger config component

The server that responds to the logger configuration requests has been developed as a component so that it may be added to an existing composition-based system. For example, if you are using a container to run your nodes, to be able to configure your loggers you only need to request that it additionally load the logging_demo::LoggerConfig component into the container.

As an example, if you want to debug the composition::Talker demo, you can start the talker as normal with:

Shell 1:

ros2 run rclcpp_components component_container

Shell 2:

ros2 component load /ComponentManager composition composition::Talker

And then when you want to enable debug logging, load the LoggerConfig component with:

Shell 2

ros2 component load /ComponentManager logging_demo logging_demo::LoggerConfig

And finally, configure all unset loggers to the debug severity by addressing the empty-named logger. Note that loggers that have been specifically configured to use a particular severity will not be affected by this call.

Shell 2:

ros2 service call /config_logger logging_demo/srv/ConfigLogger "{logger_name: '', level: DEBUG}"

You should see debug output from any previously unset loggers in the process start to appear, including from the ROS 2 core.

Logger level configuration: command line

As of the Bouncy ROS 2 release, the severity level for loggers that have not had their severity set explicitly can be configured from the command line. Restart the demo including the following command line argument:

ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main --ros-args --log-level debug

This configures the default severity for any unset logger to the debug severity level. You should see debug output from loggers from the demo itself and from the ROS 2 core.

As of the Galactic ROS 2 release, the severity level for individual loggers can be configured from the command-line. Restart the demo including the following command line arguments:

ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main --ros-args --log-level logger_usage_demo:=debug

Console output formatting

If you would like more or less verbose formatting, you can use RCUTILS_CONSOLE_OUTPUT_FORMAT environment variable. For example, to additionally get the timestamp and location of the log calls, stop the demo and restart it with the environment variable set:

export RCUTILS_CONSOLE_OUTPUT_FORMAT="[{severity} {time}] [{name}]: {message} ({function_name}() at {file_name}:{line_number})"

You should see the timestamp in seconds and the function name, filename and line number additionally printed with each message. The ``time`` option is only supported as of the ROS 2 Bouncy release.

Console output colorizing

By default, the output is colorized when it’s targeting a terminal. If you would like to force enabling or disabling it, you can use the RCUTILS_COLORIZED_OUTPUT environment variable. For example:

export RCUTILS_COLORIZED_OUTPUT=0  # 1 for forcing it

You should see that debug, warn, error and fatal logs aren’t colorized now.


In Linux and MacOS forcing colorized output means that if you redirect the output to a file, the ansi escape color codes will appear on it. In windows the colorization method relies on console APIs. If it is forced you will get a new warning saying that colorization failed. The default behavior already checks if the output is a console or not, so forcing colorization is not recommended.

Default stream for console output

In Eloquent, the output from DEBUG and INFO severity are printed out to stdout, and the output from WARN, ERROR, and FATAL are printed to stderr. It is possible to force all output to go to stdout by setting the RCUTILS_LOGGING_USE_STDOUT environment variable to 1. For example:


Line buffered console output

By default, INFO and DEBUG log calls aren’t line buffered. You can force it using RCUTILS_CONSOLE_STDOUT_LINE_BUFFERED environment variable. For example:


Then run:

ros2 run logging_demo logging_demo_main

The output should look as before. For details about I/O buffering, see buffering concepts.