My secure and messages log files were getting really big, and after analyzing them to see if there was a reason, I decided to clear them out.
To do so, I first typed: cat > messages, then typed a couple of blank lines, and hit control-c to quit. I did the same for the secure log file. This cleared the file, but no new messages were being added to the logs. After kicking myself for being stupid, I searched around and found two important things.
First, it’s easier to clear a file by simply typing “> filename”, and second, the syslog daemon is reponsible for writing to those files. Restarting it restores its ability to write to the file. I restarted it by going to /etc/init.d and running ./syslogd restart