talk, talkd - talk to another user


talk address [terminal]



The talk(1) utility is a two-way, screen-oriented communications program. You can use it to communicate with the user specified by address, which is the other user's login name. On Interix, do not specify a domain as part of the address.

If the recipient is logged in to more than one terminal, the message appears on any one of the accessible terminals, unless you specify a particular terminal as the terminal argument. (The format of terminal is the same as the TTY field from the output of who(1)).

The talk protocol is case-independent and checks only the first 11 characters of the name. If the recipient is ambiguous (the login names are identical in the first 11 characters, although the domains can be different or the same), specify the terminal to identify the correct recipient.

When you start talk(1), it sends a message like this one to the recipient:

Message from your name
talk: connection requested by your_address
talk: respond with: talk your_address

To establish communication, the recipient types the following command:

$ talk your_address

Once communication is established, both users can type their messages simultaneously with their output displayed in different parts of the screen.

Special commands are described in the following table:

Command Action
Alert character (usually CTRL+G) Alert recipient's terminal
CTRL+L Refresh sender's screen regions
EOF (usually CTRL+D); both sides must give the command End session
Erase character (usually CTRL+H or backspace) Backspace
Kill character (usually CTRL+U) Clear line

In order for talk(1) to run, the system must be configured to run ntalkd(1) through the inetd(1) service; see the inetd(1) reference page.


On successful completion, talk(1) returns an exit status of 0. If an error occurred, it returns >0.