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Finger is a program for finding out basic information about users. It is mainly used to check if a user is logged in, and to check how long they have been idle.


To finger someone, simply type finger username. For example, finger inky will show something like this:

Login: inky                             Name: (name)
Directory: /home/inky                   Shell: /bin/bash
On since Wed Jun  7 19:03 (IST) on pts/xx from -----
   11 hours 8 minutes idle
Last login Thu Jun  8 23:30 (IST) on pts/xx from -----
No mail.
Eat all the cookies

The output tells when the user last logged in, and how long they have been idle for if they are currently logged in. This information is very useful if you want to talk to someone (e.g. using hey), as you can use it to determine whether they will see the message or not.

wheybags did a silly thing so if you finger @cube (networked finger) it will show results from all netsoc hosts.


Another interesting feature of finger is the Plan. If a user has a .plan file in their home directory, the contents of the file will be printed under the "Plan:" header whenever someone fingers that user.

To edit your .plan file, type nano ~/.plan. This file can be used to contain useful information, but more often than not it is used purely for humour.

If a user has a .project file in their home directory, this will also be printed in finger as "Project:"; however, only the first line of the file will be read.

Both of these files have to be world readable, you can us the command chmod o+r file

See also

External links