The Big Brother Log Analyzer (BBLA) Homepage

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[ Logo]     Welcome to the Big Brother Log Analyzer (BBLA) homepage. This page contains information for general users. For more information, development versions, CVS tarballs, bug tracking, feature requests, etc, you may want to browse our SourceForge project page. This web page and all of our project infrastructure are hosted on SourceForge. We highly appreciate their support.

What is BBLA?

taken from BBLA] Big Brother Log Analyzer, or BBLA for short, is a package comprised of two components: a logger, which logs all accesses to selected web pages, and a log analyzer, which nicely formats the logs into an HTML page. The generated HTML is fully W3C compliant (HTML 4.01/Transitional), which guarantees that it will be rendered the way it should under any compliant browser. Another interesting feature of BBLA is that it is tag-based (you put a tag in each page you want to track): this allows for tracking pages hosted on different servers. For instance, I track accesses to my pages in the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California, Berkeley, along with these pages hosted on SourceForge in a single file. See the demo for more information.

A lot of HTML log analyzers exist on the market, but most of them are either targeted at systems administrators (with full access to httpd log files, for instance), or require general users to display an advertising banner on their pages, or (even worse) limit the number of pages you can track for free. Most of the time, the pages generated do not even follow the W3C consortium recommendations for writing proper HTML, yielding unpredictable results when viewed with different browsers.

BBLA is free, doesn't require you to have a banner on your web page, uses W3C-compliant HTML and PNG images (hence, no licensing issues with GIFs), allows for tracking pages hosted on different servers, and is actually completely transparent. So, unless your visitors look into your HTML source, they won't notice that you are tracking them.

Last but not least, BBLA is extremely light-weight: the current tarball is roughly 30KB, making it much more easier to install on platforms with scarce disk space than some of its counterparts. As an added bonus, it doesn't take ages to compile, even on really ancient hardware.



Sounds good? You may want to peruse the installation instructions before downloading it. The current version (released July 25, 2004) is:

bbla-1.6.tar.gz (PGP signature)

Older versions are archived on the SourceForge project page. Versions 1.5.2 and above are signed with Nicolas Christin's PGP key.

If you choose to use BBLA, I would highly appreciate your rating it on its Freshmeat page. It's always nice to get some feedback.

If you consider BBLA useful, please make a donation to one of the charities involved in research in autism, and/or well-being of autistic children. A good starting point for a list of such charities is The Center of Study for Autism web site. (The links section is of particular interest.) If you donate money thanks to BBLA, please be sure to notify me. (I will not give away your personal information, I'll merely use it to send you a thank-you card.) Under the BBLA license terms, there is no obligation, but your help is appreciated.

Note that BBLA will only work under UNIX or UNIX-like environments. It has been tested under Solaris, Linux, and FreeBSD. No Windows-version is being developed, and I do not have any plans in that respect. However, it does compile and seemingly works just fine under Windows+cygwin.


What's new?

Current newsflash

July 25, 2004: 1.6 was released today. This includes the ability to exclude specific browsers from being logged (no self-logging), as well as the usual bugfixes, and updates to the browser/OS analysis. You have undoubtedly noticed that the release schedule has slowed down to a crawl; this is partly due to both of the main developers lacking time.

However, the main reason for the apparent lack of activity is that BBLA does pretty much exactly what it's supposed to do, and what we want it to do. Given the relatively questionable readability of the code, we were tempted by a code overhaul (see older news). We decided against it. Rather than bloating the code and adding useless features, we are content with just having something that works, and works well. We'll keep on improving the code and fixing the rare bugs that we still discover, but, don't expect any major changes in the future. Does that mean there will never be a bbla-2.0? Well, you should never say never, but, at the moment, we do not see any reason why we should do it.

Older news

November 30, 2003: 1.5.3 was released today. This fixes a number of autoconfiguration bugs at install time on exotic platforms, as well as a few cosmetic updates. Work on the 2.0 series has not yet started, so the 1.x branch may be longer lived than we originally planned.

Sept. 29, 2003: 1.5.2 has been released. Highlights of this release include a reworked subdomain detection, improvements in User-Agent handling, and assorted bugfixes. You're highly encouraged to upgrade to this release.

Sept. 5, 2003: 1.5.1 is now available for download. The main object of this release is a major bugfix (referrers were incorrectly logged), to recognize a whole slew of new browsers, and several cosmetic upgrades. In the future, we plan one or possibly two more releases in the 1.x branch before undergoing a massive code overhaul for the 2.x series.

Aug. 17, 2003: Please welcome Yvan Pointurier to the development team.



I personally use BBLA to track web accesses to my pages in the School of Information Management and Systems, at the University of California, Berkeley. A log analysis is performed every morning at 4:00am Pacific Time, and the resulting report can be found there. Note: there may be slight discrepancies between this demo and the actual product, due to the fact that I always use the latest (beta) version.

If you are interested in making your BBLA report available publicly, please contact me and I will link it from this page.



The bbla-announce mailing list has been set up for people who are interested in receiving announcements for new BBLA releases. This list is low volume (one message every 3-6 months), posting is restricted to the administrators, and we do not sell/give away email addresses. To subscribe, please visit:



BBLA is "copylefted" under the terms of the GNU General Public License, © Nicolas Christin (primary author), 1998-2004.
Additional development by Yvan Pointurier. People who have helped (indirectly or directly) include Kevin Meltzer, and J.P. van Oyen. Please see the LICENSE, AUTHORS, and THANKS file in the distribution.

Valid HTML 4.01!
Maintained by Nicolas Christin [Webpage]

Last modified: Mon Aug 02, 2004 at 21:41:11 UTC