I am trying to display a message when I log on to Linux Mint 17.2. I have tried various methods without success:

1) I created a file /home/myusername/Desktop/startup-message.sh as follows:

echo "My startup message"

I made the file executable and made sure it works from a command line, e.g.

bash "/home/myusername/Desktop/startup-message.sh"


sh -c "/home/myusername/Desktop/startup-message.sh"

Then I used Mint's 'Startup Application' feature and added a new entry. I tried:

  bash "/home/myusername/Desktop/startup-message.sh"
  sh -c "/home/myusername/Desktop/startup-message.sh"

with and without quotes around the path name. In all cases, nothing was displayed and the "pause" was ignored.

Finally, I added a command to copy a file after the pause, and the file was copied. So, it appears that echo and pause are ignored in a start-up file, presumably because no terminal is open?

2) I then tried adding the message to /etc/profile, but the message didn't appear when I logged on.

3) I then tried adding the message to /etc/motd, but the message didn't appear when I logged on.

So how can I perform this simple task?

  • Are you logging into a terminal or X? – eyoung100 Aug 9 '15 at 22:43

You are confusing the function of echo. echo will print to the standard output file descriptor. If you already have a terminal open, that terminal is usually the standard output of the commands/scripts you run within it. By itself, echo will not open a terminal.

If you want to display a message on startup, a more "graphical" way would be to use something like zenity:

zenity --info --text "Hello, world!"

If you put that in your startup script, you will see a message box displayed to that effect.

Also, motd prints your message for text-based logins (like a login on a virtual terminal or a login via ssh) so it's not going to do what you want either.

If you want to specifically open a terminal on startup, you can make your script do something like:

xterm -e 'bash -c "echo My startup message;sleep 10"'
  • Thank you. The "zenity" command does exactly what I need. – cdgoldin Aug 9 '15 at 23:38

Why not just add this echo into ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile ?

More info at An Explanation of .bashrc and .bash_profile

Both the ~/.bashrc and ~/.bash_profile are scripts that might be executed when bash is invoked. The ~/.bashrc file gets executed when you run bash using an interactive shell that is not a login shell. The ~/.bash_profile only gets executed during a login shell.

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