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How to customize ubuntu’s message of the day

The welcome message shown to a user upon the terminal login whether it is via remote SSH login or directly via TTY or terminal is a part of motd also known as “Message Of The Day” daemon. The motd message can by customized to fit individual needs of each user or administrator by modifying the /etc/motd file or script within the /etc/update-motd.d directory.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to append additional information to motd message
  • How to modify motd message
  • How to disable selected parts of motd daemon
  • How to completely disable motd message

How to customize ubuntu’s message of the day

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Software Requirements and Conventions Used

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions

Criteria Requirements
Operating System Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver
Software N/A
Other privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command $ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Other Versions of this Tutorial

How to append additional information to motd message

It is possible to append additional information to the default motd message by creating a custom /etc/motd file. For example, let’s append the default message with the Welcome Ubuntu User message.

Open up terminal or TTY console and enter the following linux command:

How to customize ubuntu’s message of the day

How to modify motd message

Modifying the /etc/motd file is fast and effective way on how to quickly change the welcome message. However, for more elaborate configuration it is recommend to customize the MOTD via scripts located within the /etc/update-motd.d directory.

Message of the day is modular hence split into various scripts executed in order from lowest to highest number value as part of the script’s file name prefix. The following scripts are located within the /etc/update-motd.d directory as part of the default motd daemon configuration: Each script is assigned with executable permissions. Feel free to modify any of the above scripts to better fit the motd message output into your system environment.

As an exercise, let’s customize the motd message to show general system information, hard disk usage and the weather information. Let’s start by disabling the default scripts.