Installing Logstash v 1.4 (and Greater) on FreeBSD

In a previous post I described how to install Logstash (v. 1.3 and previous) on FreeBSD and in this post I will describe how to install Logstash v. 1.4 and greater.

Until version 1.3 included, Logstash was distributed as a single JAR file, and when version 1.4 was released a new packaging style was introduced. As a consequence, new instructions are required to properly setup Logstash in FreeBSD and registering it as a service. Further information about the new distribution layout can be found in the Logstash release notes.

As seen in the previous post, a Logstash FreeBSD port exists, but it is currently outdated since it bundles Logstash v. 1.2. But while this could be used as a starting point for JAR-based Logstash installations (as we have seen, the update process only required updating the Logstash JAR), this is not possible with the new Logstash distribution because the included rc script will fail to work.

Skimming through the original post is recommended because it provides general information about Logstash and FreeBSD which is required to properly plan and execute a Logstash setup.


The essential prerequisites required to execute Logstash are:

The former is required because LogStash is a JRuby application while the latter, although not technically a requirement, is the recommended output for Logstash.

Installing Java

To install OpenJDK on FreeBSD you can use pkg to install a ready-to-use binary package:

# pkg install openjdk

Currently, this command will install an instance of OpenJDK v. 7 in both FreeBSD 9 and 10. If you’d rather install a different version, you can search the available packages and pick the one you prefer (command output has been filtered for brevity):

# pkg search openjdk
# pkg install openjdk8-8.5.13_7

Installing ElasticSearch

Logstash includes an embedded ElasticSearch instance you can use for standalone installations (see my previous post for an introductory view on Logstash operation modes). The required configuration to bootstrap the embedded ElasticSearch instance and to have Logstash use it as its outputs is described in the following sections.

Although simpler from the standpoint of the configuration, Logstash installations using separate ElasticSearch instances are out of the scope of this post.

Installing Logstash

Logstash installation procedure is fairly simple since it is distributed as a tarball:

  • Download Logstash from the official website.
  • Extract the tarball in the designated installation directory (my personal suggestion is to avoid /usr/local because it is used by ports and to use /opt instead).

Creating an rc.d Script

An rc.d script is required in a BSD system to register a service, define its configuration and have the rc framework manage its lifetime. The following script can be used as is or as a starting point to customise your own. If used as is, be aware that the script uses the following default values:

  • Installation directory: ${logstash14_home=”/opt/logstash-1.4.1″}
  • Configuration file path: ${logstash14_config=”/usr/local/etc/${name}/${name}.conf”}
  • ElasticSearch data directory: ${logstash14_elastic_datadir=”/var/db/logstash14″}
  • Java home: ${logstash14_java_home=”/usr/local/openjdk6″}

# Configuration settings for Logstash in /etc/rc.conf:
# logstash14_enable (bool):
#   Default value: "NO"
#   Flag that determines whether Logstash is enabled.
# logstash14_home (string):
#   Default value: "/opt/logstash-1.4.1"
#   Logstash installation directory.
# logstash14_config (string):
#   Default value: /usr/local/etc/${name}/${name}.conf
#   Logstash configuration file path.
# logstash14_mode (string):
#   Default value: "standalone"
#   Valid options:
#     "standalone": agent, web & elasticsearch
#     "web": Starts logstash as a web ui
#     "agent": Justs works as a log shipper 
# logstash14_port (int):
#   Default value: 9292
#   Port of the Kibana web interface.
# logstash14_log (bool):
#   Set to "NO" by default.
#   Set it to "YES" to enable logstash logging to file
#   Default output to /var/log/logstash.log
# logstash14_log_file (string):
#   Default value: "${logdir}/${name}.log"
#   Log file path.
# logstash14_java_home (string):
#   Default value: "/usr/local/openjdk6"
#   Root directory of the desired Java SDK.
#   The JAVA_HOME environment variable is set with the contents of this
#   variable.
# logstash14_java_opts (string):
#   Default value: ""
#   Options to pass to the Java Virtual Machine.
#   The JAVA_OPTS environment variable is set with the contents of this
#   variable.
# logstash14_elastic_datadir (string):
#   Default value: "/var/db/logstash14".
#   Data directory of the embedded ElasticSearch instance.

. /etc/rc.subr


load_rc_config ${name}


: ${logstash14_enable="NO"}
: ${logstash14_home="/opt/logstash-1.4.1"}
: ${logstash14_config="/usr/local/etc/${name}/${name}.conf"}
: ${logstash14_log="NO"}
: ${logstash14_mode="standalone"}
: ${logstash14_port="9292"}
: ${logstash14_log_file="${logdir}/${name}.log"}
: ${logstash14_elastic_datadir="/var/db/logstash14"}
: ${logstash14_java_home="/usr/local/openjdk6"}
: ${logstash14_java_opts=""}


if [ -d $piddir ]; then
  mkdir -p $piddir



if checkyesno logstash14_log; then
  logstash14_log_options=" --log ${logstash14_log_file}"

if [ ${logstash14_mode} = "standalone" ]; then
  logstash14_args="agent -f ${logstash14_config} ${logstash14_log_options} -- web --port ${logstash14_port}"
elif [ ${logstash14_mode} = "agent" ]; then
  logstash14_args="agent -f ${logstash14_config} ${logstash14_log_options}"
elif [ ${logstash14_mode} = "web" ]; then
  logstash14_args="web --port ${logstash14_port} ${logstash14_log_options}"

JAVA_OPTS="${logstash14_java_opts} ${logstash14_elastic_options}"
export JAVA_OPTS
export JAVA_HOME

command_args="-f -p ${pidfile} ${logstash14_cmd} ${logstash14_args}"
required_files="${logstash14_home} ${logstash14_java_home} ${logstash14_cmd} ${logstash14_config}"

run_rc_command "$1"

You can override any of the supported configuration values in the /etc/rc.conf file. If, for example, you want to use an alternate Java home path, just add the following line to /etc/rc.conf setting the desired value:


Testing the Service

To test the Logstash service, the following command can be used:

# service logstash14 onestart

To stop it, use:

# service logstash14 onestop

To help troubleshooting any problem you might find you can enable the Logstash log, setting the logstash14_log variable to YES in the /etc/rc.conf file:


The log file location is specified by the logstash14_log_file variable, whose default value is set by the service rc file (only the relevant lines are shown):

: ${logstash14_log_file="${logdir}/${name}.log"}

The log file location can be overridden setting the logstash14_log_file variable in the /etc/rc.conf file.

Enabling the Service

Note that the rc script described above does not enable the Logstash service:

: ${logstash14_enable="NO"}

If everything works, you can enable the Logstash service just adding the following line to /etc/rc.conf:

Reference: Installing Logstash v 1.4 (and Greater) on FreeBSD from our JCG partner Enrico Crisostomo at the The Grey Blog blog.
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button