It is no doubt worth noting, also, that every unix/linux variant I have encountered has a motd (again, "message of the day") file. This file is read after login, but prior to the shell being executed. This message is (usually) shown to everyone who logs into the system, including those on local consoles and those who log in via SSH or such. Typically this file is located at:

One of the most common gripes with motd files is that they frequently remain static and unchanged for months, which invalidates the concept of the file containing a message of the day. A simple way to overcome this is by having a cronjob automatically update the motd file. For example:
*/5 * * * * /usr/bin/fortune > /etc/motd

This should work fine, read more about the crontab file format to understand the syntax.

My short addition to the nodegel after an extended break. I'll add some more information about the history of this file. Comments appreciated.