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Every week there's a new work log/to-do list at work. There's a todo script which can be used to extract my own to-do items from that. Currently this is called in ~/.bash_aliases_local, which is sourced from ~/.bash_aliases. Rather than parsing the log every time I start another shell, I'd like to use the standard MOTD (message of the day) functionality. This would involve updating a static file with the to-do list on a weekly basis:

@weekly update-motd

The resulting static text file should be printed every time I start an interactive Bash shell. What's the standard way to do this?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you want to have the message displayed every time you open up a new terminal (under an X session), then motd is not the right place. It is executed by the login program - this happens when you log in on a real tty (or via ssh for example).

For terminal sessions, I believe the only universal way is to run cat somefile at the end of your shell's startup file: either personal (i.e. ~/.bashrc ~/.zshrc etc.) or global (under /etc - see your shell's manpage for details). Generally, I'm afraid there isn't a "standard" way of doing this in case of terminal emulator sessions.

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Seems that .bashrc is not right place too. There are ~/.bash_login and ~/.bash_logout files . They're much better for OP purpose. –  rush Apr 12 '12 at 13:52
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@Rush .bash_login only read if bash is a login shell (and even then most people have .bash_profile instead). It would be of no help here, as the question is about all interactive shells. .bashrc is exactly the right file for this purpose. –  Gilles Apr 12 '12 at 23:31
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