After starting up a linux server (mostly Ubuntu or Debian based), I see a login prompt on the local console.

To enable end users to restart such a server or start some maintenance tasks, I would like to display a menu instead of a login prompt.

How can I do that?

  • 1
    With all due respect, if you want to empower users to perform maintenance tasks like this, they ought to be able to manage SSHing into a server and issuing a command or two via sudo.
    – EEAA
    Dec 27, 2012 at 15:03
  • From my point of view, SSH'ing into a server isn't comparable. It's just "press 1 to enable remote access, press 2 to disable remote access, press 3 to restart, press 4 to shutdown" and so on. Nothing complicated.
    – mgabriel
    Dec 27, 2012 at 15:17
  • 3
    So this would be over a serial (or other local) console? How would users authenticate? How would you track who did what? It seems as if any of this could be easily accomplished by a common set of ssh/sudo commands that people could issue, which would take care of both authentication (ssh keys) and authorization (sudoers file) in one fell swoop.
    – EEAA
    Dec 27, 2012 at 15:21

1 Answer 1


Autologin a user with mingetty. Link

Autorun a bash script that contains the menu. Link

Logout user when exiting from bash script. Link

In regards to the comments about the SSH, in our case we have a handful of Raspberry Pis that serve only to run a script when a doctor connects their dictation device via USB. Another script automatically copies the files from the USB device to our dictation server for transcription. The console script is to allow them to see feedback as to if all their jobs were successfully copied AND be able to select from a menu to pull up their "job history".

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