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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

Technical documentation

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talk — talk to another user


talk talk_party [ttyname]


The talk utility is a two-way, screen-oriented communication program.

The command argument talk_party can take one the following forms:

user user@host host!user host:user host.user

where user is a login name and host is a host name.

The optional command argument, ttyname, can be used to specify the terminal to be used when contacting a user who is logged in more than once. In absence of this argument, talk will try to contact the user on the user's most recently used terminal.

When first invoked, talk sends the following message to the party it tries to connect to (callee):

Message from Talk_Daemon@callee_host ... talk: connection requested by caller@caller_host talk: respond with: talk caller@caller_host

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

talk caller@caller_host

Once communication is established, the two parties can type simultaneously, with their output displayed in separate regions of the screen. Characters are processed as follows:

  • Typing characters from LC_CTYPE classifications print or space will cause those characters to be sent to the recipient's terminal.

  • Typing <control>-L will cause the sender's screen to be refreshed.

  • Typing the erase, kill or kill word character will delete the last character, line or word on the sender's terminal, with the action propagated to the recipient's terminal.

  • Typing the interrupt character will terminate the local talk utility. Once the talk session has been terminated on one side, the other side of the talk session will be notified that the session has been terminated and will be able to do nothing except exit.

  • Other non-printable characters typed on the sender's terminal are converted to printable characters before they are sent to the recipient's terminal.

Permission to be a recipient of a talk message can be denied or granted by using the mesg utility. However, a user may need other privileges to be able to access other users' terminals. The talk utility will fail when the user lacks the appropriate privileges.


talk: XPG4

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