It seems only decades ago that I was commonly sending out notices to my users by editing the /etc/motd file on the servers I managed. I would tell them about planned outages, system upgrades, new tools, and who would be covering for me during my very rare vacations. Somewhere along the stretch of time since, message of the day files seem to have faded from common usage – maybe overwhelmed by an excess of system messages, emailed alerts, texts, and other notices that have taken over, the /etc/motd file has. Or maybe not.
The truth is that the /etc/motd file on quite a number of Linux systems has simply become part of a larger configuration of messages that are fed to users when they log in. And, even if your /etc/motd file is empty or doesn’t exist at all, login messages are being delivered when someone logs into a server via a terminal window – and you have more control over what those messages are telling your users than you might realize.
Read more at Network World