Use this documentation with care! It describes the heavily outdated version 5, which was actively developed around 2010 and is considered dead by the rsyslog team for many years now.

This documentation reflects the latest update of the previously existing (now removed) v5-stable branch. It describes the 5.10.2 version, which was never released. As such, it contains some content that does not apply to any released version.

To obtain the doc that properly matches your installed v5 version, obtain the doc set from your distro. Each version of rsyslog contained the version that exactly matches it.

As general advise, it is strongly suggested to upgrade to the current version supported by the rsyslog project. The current version can always be found on the right-hand side info box on the rsyslog web site.

Note that there is no rsyslog community support available for this heavily outdated version. If you need to stick with it, please ask your distribution for support.


The language supports arbitrary complex expressions. All usual operators are supported. The precedence of operations is as follows (with operations being higher in the list being carried out before those lower in the list, e.g. multiplications are done before additions.

  • expressions in parenthesis
  • not, unary minus
  • *, /, % (modulus, as in C)
  • +, -, & (string concatenation)
  • ==, !=, <>, <, >, <=, >=, contains (strings!), startswith (strings!)
  • and
  • or

For example, “not a == b” probably returns not what you intended. The script processor will first evaluate “not a” and then compare the resulting boolean to the value of b. What you probably intended to do is “not (a == b)”. And if you just want to test for inequality, we highly suggest to use “!=” or “<>”. Both are exactly the same and are provided so that you can pick whichever you like best. So inquality of a and b should be tested as “a <> b”. The “not” operator should be reserved to cases where it actually is needed to form a complex boolean expression. In those cases, parenthesis are highly recommended.

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