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I do know there are questions and good answers, what to do if Ubuntu just hangs (like this one: My problem is that such a hang occurs so seldom for me, that I don't remember most of the answers at that time and I have no second machine to ask the Internet while my main system hangs.

I always remember how to open the console using some Ctrl-Alt-Fx combination. So is there a possibility to have some lines of "intro text" in that console, which tell me directly after switching to the console how to kill hanging processes and how to properly reboot? Think of it as a "reminder to self".

DOS had the ability to change the prompt in a console to arbitrary output. Maybe something similar can be done here to get me remember at least the basics?

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Sticky note? XD – emf Sep 23 '10 at 20:27
just kidding, man. – emf Sep 23 '10 at 20:28
up vote 8 down vote accepted

In the text console, you'll see a line with a text like Ubuntu 10.04 darkstar tty1 just before the login prompt. This message comes from the file /etc/issue, which you can customize to your wishes. The escape sequences are described in the getty(1) manual page.

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Tested. Works fine. I'm still waiting for the next distribution update to see if my changes are replaced. If so, I might switch to the other solution. – Bananeweizen Sep 23 '10 at 15:46
3 months later: I have successfully used the above system on two occasions now. Both times it helped avoid rebooting. Quite good, because I usually have several projects and documents opened at the same time and don't want to risk issues with them. – Bananeweizen Dec 11 '10 at 12:09

Edit the 'message of the day' (motd). This is shown whenever you log in to one of the Ctrl-Alt-Fx terminals. You can edit it with this command: sudo nano /etc/update-motd.d/10-help-text. This is a shell script that prints a help message to the screen. It is only part of the motd. The other 'fragments' can be found in the /etc/update-motd.d directory.

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