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when I login to my server, I see a nice little welcome screen that tells me everything I want to know about how things are going. Memory use, updates if any, logged in users, sytem load, etc...

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (GNU/Linux 3.13.0-44-generic i686)

  • Documentation: https://help.ubuntu.com/

    System information as of Thu Jan 15 14:52:52 EST 2015

    System load: 0.0 Processes: 167 Usage of /: 14.9% of 912.62GB Users logged in: 1 Memory usage: 29% IP address for eth0: 1.1.1.1 Swap usage: 0%

    Graph this data and manage this system at: https://landscape.canonical.com/

14 packages can be updated. 7 updates are security updates.

Last login: Thu Jan 15 06:03:10 2015 from os.maine.edu

So, how do I generate this at some other time? (Without needing to log out and log back in)

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This is called the "message of the day" or motd and by default is stored in /etc/motd. It is a bash script so all you need to do is execute it.

In case you want to add your own use /etc/motd.tail. More details here and from the link:

Let’s say you want to add a custom message users will see when they log into your Ubuntu system. Ubuntu’s MOTD is generated by scripts when you log in, so you can’t just add it to the /etc/motd file. The place to put your own static messages is /etc/motd.tail — the contents of this file are added to the end of the MOTD when it’s generated.

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    On ubuntu server 20.04, the script to generate this information is /usr/share/landscape/landscape-sysinfo.wrapper
    – chribonn
    Dec 13, 2021 at 19:48

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