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How to enable SuSE to display a warning banner prior to login.

This document (7002516) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11


To comply with company policy, SuSE servers or desktops need a warning banner to appear prior to user login.  The banner needs to appear in the GUI login screen, the text login screen, and prior to login via SSH.


Each login method requires its own solution to enable the warning banner.   Listed below are the steps to enable the banner for each type of login:

GUI login screen


Edit the  /etc/opt/gnome/gdm/gdm.conf  file.
Locate the line:#InfoMsgFile=
Uncomment this line (by removing the pound sign) and add the path to where the text file containing the warning banner is located.


The GUI warning banner is set in gconf.  This can be done through the gconf-editor or by using the command line tools.

To use the gconf-editor you must be logged into the graphic desktop and the gconf-editor program must be run as the root user. 

From the desktop open a terminal window and as the root user run the command:


In the gconf editor, on the left side of the screen expand the following selections:


Under the gdm selection highlight "simple-greeter".

In the simple-greeter settings, on the right, you will see the following two settings that must be changed:


Enable the banner message by putting a check mark in the box next to banner_message_enable.

Enter the message you would like to display in the banner_message_text by double-clicking the selection (or right-click and select Edit Key).

Once these settings are modified they must be set as "mandatory" so it will be in effect for all users on the system.  Do this by right clicking one of the two settings and select "Set as Mandatory".  Repeat for the second setting.

Close the gconf editor and logout.  The login screen should now show the message just above the login name field.

Note:  Once you have made an entry "mandatory" it cannot be modified through the gnome editor until it is removed from the gconf mandatory section.  To access the mandatory entries run gconf-editor as the root user then from the "File" menu select "New Mandatory Window".  Locate the entry then right-click it and "Unset key".  It will be removed from the list.  You can then modify the entry in the method described above.

To make the changes through a command line interface use the following commands as the root user:

gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type string --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_text "Your Message Here"

gconftool-2 --direct --config-source xml:readwrite:/etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory --type boolean --set /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_enable 1

(Verify that the settins are correct using these two commands)
gconftool-2 --get /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_text
(Should display your message)

gconftool-2 --get /apps/gdm/simple-greeter/banner_message_enable
(Should display "true")

Logout of the graphic desktop, and the login screen should now show the message.

Text login banner:

Edit the /etc/issue file and add the contents of the warning banner. 

SSH Login:

Edit the file /etc/ssh/sshd-banner to add the contents of your warning banner and save the file.

Edit  the file /etc/ssh/sshd_config. Add the following line to the end of the file:

Banner /etc/ssh/sshd-banner

Save the file and restart the sshd server with the command /etc/init.d/sshd restart

Additional Information


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7002516
  • Creation Date: 02-Feb-2009
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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