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motd_chef_status (7) Versions 1.0.1

Configures MOTD to display system and Chef information

cookbook 'motd_chef_status', '= 1.0.1', :supermarket
cookbook 'motd_chef_status', '= 1.0.1'
knife supermarket install motd_chef_status
knife supermarket download motd_chef_status
Quality 83%

MOTD Chef Status Cookbook

GitHub Tag

Maintainer: OIT Systems Engineering (


This cookbook configures Message of the Day (MOTD) to display system information and Chef status.

  • Hostname, FQDN
  • Distribution, kernel, machine
  • System owner (if applicable)
  • Status and update information (platform dependent)
  • Chef node name, run success status, last run timing

It also clears some verbose, distro-standard MOTD fragments.

MOTD is dynamic on every supported distro.
When it is available and works properly on the platform, /etc/update-motd.d/ is used. Otherwise /etc/profile.d/ is used as a fallback.

The MOTD message is reasonably standard across platforms.
This cookbook does not configure SSH, so any login message will remain.
Effort has been made to remove fragments from standard distributions and cloud-provider fragments, but is it infeasible to remove every possible fragment while respecting attributes that govern their removal.

By default, MOTD on various platforms will appear similar to below.


Ubuntu Screenshot


CentOS Screenshot

Run status will turn red if the last Chef converge failed.
Timing will turn red if the last run occurred longer ago than the maximum duration allowed by the Chef client.



This cookbook requires Chef 14+


Supported Platform Families:

  • Debian
    • Ubuntu, Mint
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    • Amazon, CentOS, Oracle
  • Suse
  • BSD
  • Windows

Platforms validated via Test Kitchen:

  • Ubuntu
  • Debian
  • CentOS
  • Oracle
  • Fedora
  • Amazon
  • Suse
  • Windows


  • This cookbook should support any recent Linux variant with the caveat that it will not clear novel MOTD fragments.


This cookbook does not constrain its dependencies because it is intended as a utility library.
It should ultimately be used within a wrapper cookbook.


This cookbook provides one resources for configuring and installing a MOTD fragment.
The fragment will be placed in the appropriate directory and given the appropriate extension for the platform.


A motd_fragment manages a single script fragment (file).


Two action are provided.

  • create - Post condition is that the fragment exists in the appropriate directory to be executed and with the appropriate file extension.
  • delete - Post condition is that the fragment exists in neither /etc/update-motd.d/ nor /etc/profile.d/.


This resource has four attributes.

  • fragment_name - Defaults to nil. The stem of the fragment file, if nil the name of the resource is used.
  • template_cookbook - Required. The name of the cookbook where the fragment is located.
  • template_source - Required. The name of the template to use for the fragment, inside template_cookbook/templates/.
  • template_variables - Defaults to {}.



This recipe installs and configures dynamic MOTD by calling all of the other recipes.




This recipe installs update-motd on platforms that support it.




This recipe removes possibly all pre-existing MOTD fragments to keep the login uncluttered and the Chef warning prominent.


  • node['motd_chef_status']['remove_existing_fragments'] - Defaults to true. Determines if existing fragments are removed. If false, the attributes below have no effect.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['remove_document_fragments'] - Defaults to true. Determines if documentation-related fragments are removed.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['remove_status_fragments'] - Defaults to false. Determines if status-related fragments are removed.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['remove_update_fragments'] - Defaults to false. Determines is update-related fragments are removed.

Three attributes determine the fragments that are deleted.
Each fragment list has no effect if the corresponding fragment type is not removed.

  • node['motd_chef_status']['document_fragments'] - Defaults to an array of fragment files. The list of document fragments to delete.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['status_fragments'] - Defaults to an array of fragment files. The list of document status to delete.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['update_fragments'] - Defaults to an array of fragment files. The list of update fragments to delete.


This recipe installs possibly two fragments, one a banner and the other a Chef warning and status.


  • node['motd_chef_status']['add_header_fragment'] - Defaults to true. Determines if the header fragment is installed.
  • node['motd_chef_status']['header_position'] - Defaults to '00'.
    Determines the position of the header fragment.
    The default position places the header before anything else.

  • node['motd_chef_status']['add_chef_fragment'] - Defaults to true.
    Determines if the Chef status/warning fragment is installed.

  • node['motd_chef_status']['chef_status_position'] - Defaults to '99'.
    Determines the position of the Chef fragment. The default position is at the end of the MOTD.

  • node['motd_chef_status']['server_owner'] - Defaults to ''.
    The owner/manager of the server.
    If not empty the header will include a line for the owner.


The motd_fragment resource can be used as below.

motd_fragment 'motd-header' do
  fragment_name '00-header'
  template_cookbook 'my_cookbook'
  template_source ''
  template_variables {}


See and

Dependent cookbooks

chef_run_recorder >= 0.0.0

Contingent cookbooks

There are no cookbooks that are contingent upon this one.

Changelog for MOTD Chef Status Cookbook


  • Updated kitchen to use EC2


  • Improved timing detection when Chef handlers have never run


  • Added attributes for fragments
  • Updated kitchen platforms and platform support


  • Added check for node record


  • Refactored documentation


  • Added Screenshots to ReadMe


  • Added FQDN and owner to header


  • Initial release

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1.0.1 failed this metric

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