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Sysadmins - What's in Your MOTD? 176

Posted by Cliff
from the daily-thoughts-from-BOFHs dept.
permaculture asks: "This is a 'knowledge management' issue, on a University network. For many years we've had a network 'Message of the Day' that appears when any network user logs in. MOTD lists planned service outages for maintenance, progress on current issues, upcoming holidays, and other items that affect network users. Recently, this has been replaced by a page that announces general University business such as Open weeks, upcoming awards etc. There's a link on the page to the network MOTD that used to greet every user immediately after login. Does your network have a 'Message of the Day' that appears at login? Is it a Corporate business page, entirely related to network services, or something else entirely?"
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Sysadmins - What's in Your MOTD?

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  • A quote (Score:3, Interesting)

    by daveewart (66895) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:10PM (#15177155)
    Our network announcements and other notices are elsewhere, so I put a Quote Of The Day in our MOTD.
  • Notice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eht (8912) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:17PM (#15177225)
    Notice

    This is a Department of Defense computer system.
    This computer system, including all related equipment, networks, and network devices (specifically Internet access), are provided only for authorized U.S. government use.

    DoD Computer systems may be monitored for all lawful purposes, including to ensure that their use is authorized, for management of the system, to facilitate protection against unauthorized access, and to verify security procedures, servivability, and operational security. Monitoring includes active attacks by authorized DoD entities to test or verify the security of this system. During monitoring, information may be examined, recorded, copied, and used for authorized purposes. All information, including personal information, placed on or sent over this system may be monitored. There is no expectation of privacy in any information transmitted in or through this system.

    Use of this DoD computer system, authorized or unauthorized, constitutes consent to monitoring of this system. Unauthorized use may be subject to criminal prosecution. Evidence collected during monitoring may be used for administrative, criminal, or other adverse action. Use of this system constitutes consent to monitoring for these purposes.
  • Sarbox Bites (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Goyuix (698012) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:20PM (#15177258) Homepage

    Many of us can't screw with the MOTD because of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act [wikipedia.org], and are stuck with some legal notice that is it is a private system, you need access, blah blah...

    I do plan to watch this thread, hoping for some gems to pop-out though for my private systems :)

  • by chiapet (122502) on Friday April 21, 2006 @04:25PM (#15177302)
    It's a lively file. We get tons of flames and trolls. Randomly, we get a genuine question and, more often than not, the question gets answered. Most of the users try to play nice and not overwrite each other. I'm not sure what the record is, but we got our motd to get over 1000+ lines. It gives me a warm fuzzy to see all that scrolling text.
  • by scragz (654271) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:15PM (#15177721) Homepage
    Slighty modified for lameness circumvention. (Lameness circumvention for proper posts is considered fair use and is allowed under the LMCA).

    $ cat /etc/motd

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UNAUTHORIZED USERS WILL BE KILLED AND EATEN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Unauthorized access prohibited; all access and activities not explicitly
    authorized by [ i ] motion design are unauthorized. All activities are
    monitored and logged. There is no privacy on this system. Unauthorized
    access and activities or any criminal activity will be reported to
    appropriate authorities.
  • Re:Notice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kesch (943326) on Friday April 21, 2006 @05:44PM (#15177914)
    Heh, I have something similar on this comp:

    (There is a line of stars here, but the Lameness Filter won't accept it)
                                                        NOTICE TO USERS

    This is a Federal computer system and is the property of the United
    States Government. It is for authorized use only. Users (authorized or
    unauthorized) have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy.

    Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be
    intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed
    to authorized site, Department of Energy, and law enforcement personnel,
    as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.
    By using this system, the user consents to such interception, monitoring,
    recording, copying, auditing, inspection, and disclosure at the discretion of
    authorized site or Department of Energy personnel.

    Unauthorized or improper use of this system may result in administrative
    disciplinary action and civil and criminal penalties. By continuing to use
    this system you indicate your awareness of and consent to these terms and
    conditions of use. LOG OFF IMMEDIATELY if you do not agree to the conditions
    stated in this warning.

    (There is also a line of *'s here.)
  • by LordNightwalker (256873) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:25PM (#15178165)

    FOAD

    Heh, nice one, but I think I trump you... At my job I was asked, together with my colleague, to set new root passwords on all our boxes a while ago. We decided to come up with some pretty tough ones to crack, but just for fucks sake leave the password hints in plain sight.

    Enter the MOTD... Right now, anyone logging in at one of our servers is greeted with a tongue-in-cheek taunt to try and figure out the root password. The taunt sentence is the basis from which the password is derived. But the process of deriving the password from the taunt sentence alone is pretty hard... For example, "computer" may be represented in the password string as [1+1] (to denote a box that does computations) or 1+1=>[]=>2 to denote a box that accepts computational jobs and outputs results. Or it can just be represented as "c". ;)

    The only problem with this scheme: even though I was the one coming up with the taunts and the corresponding passwords, I sometimes have to ring up my colleague when I try to get root on one of the boxes where I rarely use the root account. I made the passwords so hard to derive that the password hint kind of loses its purpose...

  • by billstewart (78916) on Friday April 21, 2006 @06:25PM (#15178166) Journal
    Sorry for the clunky title, but that's what I could fit in a Subject Line box.

    Historically there were two common contents for motd - fortune, and a note from the administrator saying that the file system was almost full so please clean up your files, and this applied to just about any multi-user server with just about any operating system. Moore's Law has changed this for most systems I've dealt with - disk capacities have been growing rapidly and prices dropping rapidly, and disk drives really are no longer running 99% full except for individuals' PCs that are full of MP3s or videos. Sometimes you'll see messages like that from MS Exchange Mail Server operators who are running shared mailbox servers on expensive fast disks, but otherwise the disk capacity most places finally outpaces user demand.

    Unfortunately, bureaucrats acting as amateur lawyers have typically replaced that message with some badly written threatening legalese drivel that has no clue about what the laws actually say; they'd be just as well off with a message that said "The Wizard says: Go away and come back tomorrow!"

  • who are the diskhogs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Aaton (216314) * <slashdot @ 2 3 0 v o l t s . net> on Friday April 21, 2006 @07:58PM (#15178552) Homepage Journal
    If you don't already have quotas you might run into some users eating more then there fair share of disk space. Run something like this nightly from cron job and place the output in /etc/motd. Your biggest diskhogs will be known to everyone that logs in.
    #!/bin/bash
    # Usage: diskhog [dir] [count]
    # If nothing given defaults to /home and 10

    HOMES=${1:-/home}
    COUNT=${2:-10}
    SMALLDIV= "-----"
    IGNORELIST="proc"

    if [ ! -d $HOMES ] ; then
    echo "$HOMES needs to be a directory. Use the full path"
    exit
    fi

    cd $HOMES

    echo "`date +%D` Disk Hogs: $HOMES"
    echo "$SMALLDIV";
    du -ks `ls -l | egrep -ie "^d" |egrep -iv $IGNORELIST | awk '{print $9}'` | sort -rn | head -$COUNT;
    echo "$SMALLDIV";
    May not be the best method but works under Linux. You might need to change the awk number if your ls doesn't output like mine.

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