motd (Unix)

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Default motd showing on OpenBSD 5.3

The /etc/motd is a file on Unix-like systems that contains a "message of the day", used to send a common message to all users in a more efficient manner than sending them all an e-mail message. Other systems might also have an motd feature, such as the motd info segment on MULTICS.[1]


The contents of the file /etc/motd are displayed by the Unix login command after a successful login, and just before it executes the login shell.[2]

Newer Unix-like systems may generate the message dynamically when the host boots or a user logs in.[3]

The MOTD has also become a common feature of the online component of Windows PC games, such as Half-Life, Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Battlefield. A similar feature called MOTD is displayed when logging on to some IRC servers.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Multics Glossary -M-".
  2. ^ The complete FreeBSD: documentation from the source, By Greg Lehey, p.572
  3. ^ Project, Ubuntu Documentation (May 2011). Ubuntu 11.04 Server Guide. ISBN 9781596822603.
  4. ^ "Internet Relay Chat: Client Protocol".