Linux Message of the Day

From packets2photons
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I like to make my message of the day as useful as possible. When I login via ssh I want it to be really clear as to which machine I am using and the specifications of that machine. The way that you do this varies between different distributions. Below are some examples of Ubuntu and Arch.


There are a couple of packages that I like. You can install them with:

sudo apt install figlet neofetch

You can edit the message of the day with:

vim /etc/update-motd.d/00-header

At the bottom of this file I usually insert the following lines:

figlet -f small Welcome to [Insert_server_name_here]

I usually then explore the other parts that are added by subsequent files in /etc/update-motd.d/ if I don' find the other information useful then I just delete.

As an example, on my amazon EC2 machine I did:

sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/10-help-text 
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/50-landscape-sysinfo
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/50-motd-news  
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/51-cloudguest 
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/80-esm 
sudo rm /etc/update-motd.d/80-livepatch


Arch Linux does not feature a dynamic message of the day. It will simply read and print whatever the contents of /etc/motd. This means that you will need to use cron to periodically insert the data into the motd. Start by installing the correct packages.

pacman -S figlet neofetch cronie

Then you want to create a script

vim /bin/motd-script

figlet -f small Welcome to Archbox

Provide execute permissions

chmod 755 /bin/motd-script

You will then want to get this updated.

vim /etc/cron.hourly/0anacron

If permissions need changing then change the permissions on this file also

chmod 755 /etc/cron.hourly/0anacron

and find a place to insert the following:

/bin/motd-script > /etc/motd


The Raspberry Pi instructions are the same as Arch. The only way they differ is the installation of the packages being apt based. Cron configuration also differed as below:

 sudo vim /etc/crontab

I then inserted the following line to use the script to update the motd

24 *    * * *   root    /bin/motd-script > /etc/motd


Sometimes I like running:

/usr/games/cowsay -f /usr/share/cowsay/cows/default.cow Hello, $(w -h | awk '{print $1"@"$3}') I am $HOSTNAME