logrotate does not compress /var/log/messages

Solution 1:

Adding delaycompress to the configuration section for /var/log/messages solved the problem.

From man logrotate:

          Postpone  compression of the previous log file to the next rota‐
          tion cycle.  This only has effect when used in combination  with
          compress.   It  can  be used when some program cannot be told to
          close its logfile and thus might continue writing to the  previ‐
          ous log file for some time.

I guess sysklogd, my syslog daemon, cannot be told to close its logfile, and thus this is necessary.

Interestingly, the original configuration I had (without the delaycompress directive), came straight out of man logrotate (except I changed weekly to daily):

   # sample logrotate configuration file

   /var/log/messages {
       rotate 5
           /usr/bin/killall -HUP syslogd

Solution 2:

It's hard to say with just this info, but I can tell you what has saved me a few times.

Logrotate has a debug option that will print a play-by-play of each step it takes to stdout. So in this case you could do:

logrotate -d /etc/logrotate.conf

The output will tell you what exactly is going on. Also, if you want to narrow down the debug output you can do

logrotate -d /etc/logrotate.d/messages

Though you may want to temporarily place the main logrotate.conf options in that files block since specifying the file directly means it will have never read the main configs options. Specifying the individual file also means you can use the -f (force) option in combination with the debug option to get a look at an actual rotation of the messages file taking place.