Explaining The Terminal Welcome Screen 3


Explaining The Terminal Welcome Screen


A couple of days ago I received an email asking me to explain Terminal’s welcome screen. For new users this can be quite confusing and many wonder what each parts mean. This post is going to be a quick introduction on what each line means and way it is there. I will also have a couple of links to posts explaining each part in more detail. If you have any questions please leave a comment below.

When you start Terminal you should see something like this.

Terminal Screen Shot


Last login: Sat Jan 16 18:34:23 on ttys000
Welcome James
dyn240089:~ James$

The first line:

Last login: Sat Jan 16 18:34:23 on ttys000

is all about when you last logged into your Terminal, this can be semi useful if you use remote login or similar to see when the last log in was. Most of the time I ignore it since I can never remember when I last used Terminal.

The final part ttys000 is the Terminal you have logged into. It comes from when computers were a lot slower and older. You can find more information over on this Computer Terminal wiki page. The ttys, starts at zero and increases as you open more Terminal windows.

The second line:

Welcome James

is you message of the day. I can’t remember the original how ever you can change it by following this post. You could add something witty, or reduce the amount of space on screen by deleting any of the text.

The final line:

dyn240089:~ James$

is made up of two parts. The first is your computer. This can be named from System Preferences > Sharing, text box at the top of the page. Most of the time this can be changed by you. However sometimes the network you connect to (as is the case with mine) will change it. It can vary sometimes local host is displayed. Keep an eye on it to make your you are using the right Terminal, especially if you have ssh’d or are using remote log in.

The final part, after the colon, is the short name of the current user. This should be who  you are logged in with. If you are using ssh, this will change.

There isn’t a lot too the three lines in Terminal, however for new people this may be quite difficult to understand. If you have any questions please leave a comment. Alternatively you can find more information in some books. I recommend Mac OS X Unix Toolbox and The Mac OS X Command Line from Amazon.

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