Talkd and the talk command

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Reason: Should mention ytalk, too. (Discuss in Talk:Talkd and the talk command#)

The "talk" command allows you to talk to other users on the same system, which is useful if you're both SSH'd in from somewhere. Using it is very simple; to talk to someone the command is just

$ talk <username> <tty>

Of course, you can talk to users on another system as well:

$ talk <username>@<hostname> <tty>

In either case, the tty is optional. It is used if you wish to talk to a local user who is logged in more than once to indicate the appropriate terminal name. "tty" is of the form 'ttyXX', or 'pts/X'.

Setup

Using xinetd

  1. First, install the inetutils package, which contains talk and talkd. These also rely on xinetd, so install that as well. You might also need the screen command; it's in the screen package.
    # pacman -S inetutils xinetd screen
  2. Configure the xinetd service entry by editing /etc/xinetd.d/talk and setting "disable = no".
  3. If you are using tcp_wrappers or something similar, add an entry to /etc/hosts.allow:
    talkd: 127.0.0.1
  4. Now start xinetd:
    # systemctl start xinetd.service
  5. If you're on the local system, you might need to start a screen session to make yourself show up on the "w" and "who" commands -- you need to show up there or talk won't work.
  6. Allow write access in your terminal if needed:
    $ mesg y

Talk should work now.

Using systemd directly

Starting from inetutils 1.9.1.341-2, talk.service and talk.socket files are provided. Just upgrade and then activate the talk daemon:

# systemctl start talk