The server I administrate, inconveniently enough, has a dynamic IP address assigned by DHCP. The convenient counterbalance, though, is that it happens to be set up about two feet from where I sit. I know how to edit /etc/issue to show different values before the login prompt is delivered to the display, but I'd like to know if it's possible for /etc/issue to display the current IP address of eth0 (re-evaluated at boot time) so that I can see it and then ssh in without having to log in to run ifconfig.

  • Can conky be used in the login screen? If so you could make all sorts of info handy. – dibs Nov 15 '12 at 1:07

As of Debian 8/jessie you can use the \4 and \6 escape characters to output the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. So the /etc/issue file:

Debian GNU/Linux 8 \n \l

eth0: \4{eth0}

Would output something like the following at the login console:

Debian GNU/Linux 8 myserver tty1

myserver login:

I imagine Ubuntu would provide similar functionality (at least in newer releases)

  • This worked for me in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the answer marked as correct didn't, probably an issue with the grep comment, in any case, thanks for posting this. – Tracker1 Jan 19 '17 at 16:19

/etc/issue is unfortunately a plain text, it has some options you can add to it (see man agetty) but not the IP address of eth0.

If you put this in /etc/rc.local:

IP=$(/sbin/ifconfig eth0 | grep 'inet addr:' | cut -d: -f2 | awk '{ print $1}')
echo "eth0 IP: $IP" > /etc/issue

Then you will see something like this:

myServer login:
  • 3
    Please note for anyone running this, this will overwrite the contents of /etc/issue. You could add steps to grep out the previous "eth*" lines and then append them. – Rebs Mar 16 '16 at 22:57

Building on Alex's answer and Rebs' comment, this is what I have for my /etc/rc.local file (only relevant lines):

PRE_MSG="Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS" # this is from the original /etc/issue

IP=$(/sbin/ifconfig eth0 | grep 'inet addr:' | cut -d: -f2 | awk '{ print $1}')

IP_MSG="Server IP Address:"

printf "%s %s %s\n\n%s %s\n\n" "$PRE_MSG" '\n' '\l' "$IP_MSG" "$IP" > "/etc/issue"

The printf command does the magic. Unfortunately putting the '\n' and '\l' inside the format string ended up replacing the first one with the new line character and the /etc/issue file was messed up.

So long story short, these 4 lines keep the original info displayed by /etc/issue file and add the Server IP Address: message.

And as Rebs' said, keep in mind that every time you reboot the server, this script will override the /etc/issue file, so maybe try it inside a different script and on a different file and once it's working, transfer the changes over...

Good luck and happy BASHing :)


With systemd you can do systemctl edit getty@ with something like:

ExecStartPre=-/bin/bash -c '[ ! -f /etc/.issue.orig ] && cp /etc/issue /etc/.issue.orig; int=`ls /sys/class/net|grep enp|head -1`; sed -r "s/\\\\\\n/[\\\\\\4\{$$int\}]/" < /etc/.issue.orig > /etc/issue'

Then systemctl daemon-reload && systemctl restart getty@tty1

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