Linux display or change a pre-login message – /etc/issue file

Q. How can I configure or change the Virtual Console login to display a pre-login message?

A. The file /etc/issue is a text file which contains a message or system identification to be printed before the login prompt. It may contain various @char and char sequences, if supported by getty.

Just open file /etc/issue and change the text as per your requirements.

Procedure to change /etc/issue – pre login file

Login as the root user. Open a file
# vi /etc/issue
Append new text as follows:
Welcome to SXI LLC Labs!
Today is d t @ n

Save and close the file. d, t or n will expand as follows on run time.

/etc/issue – escape code

The issue-file (/etc/issue or the file set with the -f option) may contain certain escape codes to display the system name, date and time etc. All escape codes consist of a backslash () immediately followed by one of the letters explained below.

  • b : Insert the baudrate of the current line.
  • d : Insert the current date.
  • s : Insert the system name, the name of the operating system.
  • l : Insert the name of the current tty line.
  • m : Insert the architecture identifier of the machine, eg. i486
  • n : Insert the nodename of the machine, also known as the hostname.
  • o : Insert the domainname of the machine.
  • r : Insert the release number of the OS, eg. 1.1.9.
  • t : Insert the current time.
  • u : Insert the number of current users logged in.
  • U : Insert the string “1 user” or “ users” where is the number of current users logged in.
  • v : Insert the version of the OS, eg. the build-date etc.

See also

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of SXI LLC and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.