/etc/motd template

Karl Goetz karl at kgoetz.id.au
Thu Nov 20 23:04:57 GMT 2008

On Thu, 20 Nov 2008 09:49:08 -0600
"Dustin Kirkland" <kirkland at ubuntu.com> wrote:

> In Intrepid, the Ubuntu Server Team created a new package,
> update-motd, which provides a very flexible framework for dynamically
> and regularly generating a more interesting and informative /etc/motd.

similar to sysnews?

> My question to you is about the stock /etc/motd used in Ubuntu, pasted
> here for convenience:
> --------
>     Linux t61p 2.6.27-8-generic #1 SMP Thu Nov 6 17:38:14 UTC 2008
> x86_64
>     The programs included with the Ubuntu system are free software;
>     the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
>     individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.
>     Ubuntu comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted
> by applicable law.
>     To access official Ubuntu documentation, please visit:
>     http://help.ubuntu.com/
> --------
> This "stock" information is provided by /etc/motd.tail (plus the uname
> line).  update-motd is currently using this, because, well, we always
> have.

Which was inherited from Debian.

> I'm curious if the "free software" and "no warranty" paragraphs are
> still necessary/useful? 

Since its basically Debians motd with s/Debian/Ubuntu/g it may not be
particularly relevant. (Remember Debian has traditionally been a Free
Software distribution, the message may even date back to the FSF
sponsored part of its life).

> Do they belong in the MOTD, printed *every*
> time a user logs onto a system on the command line?

Depends - how many programs require a user is notified of the licence
Once may be enough, thats just a thought.

> My thought is that these aren't exactly "Messages of the Day" (and we
> really now have the capability to make the MOTD be "Messages of the
> Day").  They're more like the "tips" you get the first time you open
> Gimp, or something.  Would it be better to display these on first
> boot, or first-login, and then stow them away elsewhere, and leave
> /etc/motd to the more interesting, dynamic messages that provide
> relevant information about your system?

Finding documentation and finding licence information *is* relevant to
the system :)


Karl Goetz, (Kamping_Kaiser / VK5FOSS)
Debian user / gNewSense contributor
No, I won't join your social networking group

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