talk -- talk to another user


talk person [ ttyname ]


talk is a visual communication program which copies lines from your terminal to that of another user.

If you wish to talk to someone on you own machine, then person is just the person's login name. If you wish to talk to a user on another host, then person is of the form user@host.

If you want to talk to a user who is logged in more than once, the ttyname argument may be used to indicate the appropriate terminal name, where ttyname is of the form ``ttyXX''.

When first called, it sends the message

   Message from TalkDaemon@his_machine... talk:
   connection requested by
   your_name@your_machine. talk: respond
   with: talk your_name@your_machine
to the user to whom you wish to talk.

At this point, the recipient of the message should reply by typing:

talk  your_name@your_machine

It does not matter from which machine the recipient replies, as long as his login-name is the same. Once communication is established, the two parties may type simultaneously, with their output appearing in separate windows. Typing <Ctrl>L will cause the screen to be reprinted, while your erase and kill characters will behave normally. In addition, <Ctrl>W is defined as a word-kill character. To exit, just type your interrupt character; talk then moves the cursor to the bottom of the screen and restores the terminal to its previous state.

Permission to talk may be denied or granted by use of the mesg(C) command. At the outset talking is allowed. Certain commands, in particular nroff and pr(C) disallow messages to prevent messy output.


The version of talk released with System V STREAMS TCP uses a protocol that is incompatible with the protocol used in the version released with \4.2BSD. The new protocol is compatible with \4.3BSD. The older protocol was not portable across different machine architectures.

talk may be confused if you attempt to use the host.user format with a fully qualified hostname.


to find the recipient's machine

to find the recipient's tty

See also

mesg(C), who(C), mail(C), write(C), talkd(ADMN)

Standards conformance

talk is conformant with X/Open CAE Specification, Commands and Utilities, Issue 4, 1992.
© 2005 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 6.0.0 -- 02 June 2005