I want my Debian greeting to show me how many updates are available, like what happens in Ubuntu.

Debian greeting: https://i.imgur.com/eJ0UsxU.jpeg

Ubuntu greeting: https://i.imgur.com/t0r8nzr.jpeg

  • That “greeting” is usually called the message of the day (motd) wiki.debian.org/motd
    – HBruijn
    Commented May 12 at 22:41
  • man 8 pam_motd and man 5 motd might help
    – Stewart
    Commented May 13 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


You appear to have access to both debian and Ubuntu - you have access to the answers.

The content is shown by the MOTD mechanism which simply cats a file to the terminal. This is obviously dynamic content - the content is displayed and updated by /etc/profile.d/update-motd.sh - a shell script - which runs /usr/sbin/update-motd. This, in turn, runs the scripts in /etc/update-motd.d.

These are collectively installed by the base-files package on an Ubuntu box near me.

The Ubuntu version includes /etc/update-motd.d/91-release-upgrade which runs /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/release-upgrade-motd, which is a simple wrapper around /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release to provide the summary of required updates - i.e. something that is distro specific.

So just follow the thread and copy over the files you want.

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