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MOTD, an abbreviation standing for Message of the Day. These messages are often displayed on websites, services or different forms of communication as a means of displaying what the administrator or creator feels to be the most important and/or signifigant information to be presented since the previous MOTD.

Sometimes these messages are sent via email, and sometimes they are posted on websites as the first page that a person views when arriving. Often, these messages aren't updated, most probably due to the fact that whoever is in charge of them doesn't feel the need to change them or work on them, and sometimes simply because there is no new news or information sufficient to the creation of a new MOTD.

In fact, there have been known cases where a website or service is abandoned and, as a result, the MOTD is condemned to an eternity of inaccuracy, always being called that of the day, but never truly being that of the day beyond the day of its creation (got all that?). Such MOTDs become fallacies, and eventually are forgotten, although they may be excavated at a later date from their site of abandonment.

Due to time constraints and submission to the hand of reality, there have been services that have switched to the use of "message of the week" or "message of the month." Be this an admission of non-commitment to the daily writing of a message, or simply an experiment with uniqueness of wording, the roots of each trailblazer who attempts this always lead back to the "MOTD" from the good old days.

It is no doubt worth noting, also, that every unix/linux variant I have encountered has a motd (again, "message of the day") file. This file is read after login, but prior to the shell being executed. This message is (usually) shown to everyone who logs into the system, including those on local consoles and those who log in via SSH or such. Typically this file is located at:

One of the most common gripes with motd files is that they frequently remain static and unchanged for months, which invalidates the concept of the file containing a message of the day. A simple way to overcome this is by having a cronjob automatically update the motd file. For example:
*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/fortune > /etc/motd

This should work fine, read more about the crontab file format to understand the syntax.

My short addition to the nodegel after an extended break. I'll add some more information about the history of this file. Comments appreciated.

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