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To be clear, I am not referring to /etc/issue (shown before the prompt) or /etc/motd (shown after login), but the prompt itself, which is currently

hostname login:

For good measure, I am running Arch Linux, but I believe the answer will likely be cross-distro.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

My background is RHEL-derived distributions (mainly Fedora, today), Arch is foreign to me.

Back when /etc/inittab and mgetty where used by RHEL, you could edit /etc/inittab and pass the -p option to mgetty. This would set the prompt.

Now with the adoption of systemd /etc/inittab is empty. The tty configuration file is now /lib/systemd/system/getty\@.service. This file seems to use agetty instead of mgetty to manage the tty. agetty man page doesn't show the -p option, but you could reinstall mgetty and use it. Or you could use the -n (no prompt) option with the -l (specify a login program) option and write a wrapper to /bin/login with your own prompt.

Now, I don't know how to set up this on Arch, but you have to find out where it manages it's ttys (/etc/inittab is the first place you have to look), then see with the tty program how to roll your own custom prompt.

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Aha! Thank you, this is getting me on the right track. I've discovered that Arch uses agetty, and found the invocation inside /etc/inittab. Unfortunately, agetty does not seem to have an option to change the prompt. (Oh I just reread your answer, you said that for me haha). It seems like your ideas are the best possible options. Thank you! – nona Jul 18 '11 at 1:05

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