LF tip: Customize motd & issue


UNIX Basics

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original in de Mario M. Knopf 

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Mario enjoys working with Linux, networks and security related topics.

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Every user, who doesn't work exclusively in runlevel 5, has already seen the reports of the two ASCII files "motd" and "issue". To customize these for your individual needs, you can open the appropriate file in any editor and modify the content.


The acronym "motd" stands for "message of the day". This file, which is used by the login program, can be found in the configuration directory "/etc" and displays a message after a successful login, but before the respective login shell starts. The file could look as follows:

$ cat /etc/motd
Have a lot of fun...


The file "/etc/issue" can also be used to show reports on the screen. However, these messages appear before the login prompt. As a rule, the content of this file serves the system identification, however, it can be changed exactly like "motd" arbitrarily. For example, under Slackware 10 it looks like:

$ cat /etc/issue
Welcome to \s \r (\l)
The \s is replaced by the "operating system name" the \r by the "kernel version" and \l by the "terminal device name". You can find the description of these options in the mingetty(1) or getty(1) man-page.