About.com: Setting Up Login MessagesOct 29, 2000, 15:07 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Aron Hsiao)
"If your system accepts remote user logins via telnet or serial ports, or console logins in text mode, you can present text messages to your users simply by editing two files in the /etc directory."
"The /etc/issue file is displayed to connecting users before the login prompt is displayed. This is an excellent place to display warnings and login instructions... Because many distributions automatically generate this file each time you boot, you may want to mark it as read-only once you've edited it to your satisfaction so that your changes won't be overwritten..."
"The /etc/motd file is similar to the /etc/issue file in that it is plain-text and is displayed to the user during login. However, the /etc/motd file is displayed after successful password entry but before the shell is started. This file is useful for displaying information which should be seen only by valid users... Since this file is displayed by login rather than by the shell, it is seen by all users, even those not logging in to an interactive shell. Some distributions may automatically generate this file each boot as well; you can take the same steps to preserve the changes you make to this file."