By Dan Moren
March 26, 2020 6:30 AM PT
Quick Tip: Customize your Terminal login with a message of the day
My adventure resurrecting my Power Mac G3 not only brought to light old files, but also some old computing habits, prompting a question from one Twitter user:
I appreciate the subtle Cowboy Bebop reference in that terminal sceeenshot 😅— Jason™ @ S̶a̶k̶u̶r̶a̶-̶C̶o̶n̶ 😞 (@yuusharo) March 24, 2020
Is that still a thing in macOS/Unix? Custom launch messages in terminal?
That custom logon message—aka the Message of the Day or MOTD—was once a staple of the command line, and yes, it is still a thing, even in the most recent version of macOS. Customizing it is simple.
Just pop open a Terminal window, and open the
/etc/motd file in your favorite text editor. I prefer
nano 1 so, I would just run this command:
sudo nano /etc/motd
Once you enter your administrator password, you’ll get a blank text edit window into which you can enter a message. Save that file (in
nano, type ctrl-x and then ‘y’ when prompted to save) and the next time you open a new Terminal window, you’ll be greeted with your message of the day. Make sure to make it something upbeat—we all need it these days.
Nano: the only way to stay out of the vi vs. emacs turf war. ↩
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