Linux talk command

Updated: 05/04/2019 by Computer Hope
talk command

On Unix-like operating systems, the talk command provides a text chat interface which lets you communicate in real time with other logged-in users.


Talk is a visual communication program which copies lines from your terminal to that of another user, much like an instant messenger service. When first called, talk contacts the talk daemon on the other user's machine, which sends the message below.

Message from [email protected]_machine...
talk: connection requested by [email protected]_machine.
talk: respond with: talk [email protected]_machine

to that user. At this point, he then replies by typing

talk [email protected]_machine

It doesn't 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; their output will appear in separate windows. Typing control-L (^L) will cause the screen to be reprinted. The erase, kill line, and word erase characters (normally ^H, ^U, and ^W, respectively) will behave normally. To exit, just type the interrupt character (normally ^C); talk then moves the cursor to the bottom of the screen and restores the terminal to its previous state.

talk supports scrollback; use esc-p and esc-n to scroll your window, and ctrl-p and ctrl-n to scroll the other window.

If you do not want to receive talk requests, you may block them using the mesg command. By default, talk requests are normally not blocked. Certain commands, in particular nroff, pine, and pr, may block messages temporarily to preserve their own output.


talk person [ttyname]


person If you want to talk to someone on your machine, then person is just the person's login name. If you want to talk to a user on another host, then person is of the form '[email protected]'.
ttyname 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' or 'pts/X'.


talk hope

Talk to user hope.

mesg — Control if (non-root) users can send messages to your terminal.
wall — Send a message to all logged-in users.
who — Report which users are logged in to the system.
write — Send a message to another user.