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. This was historically useful on UNIX systems, before the popularization of IRC and more recent instant messaging software. It can still be useful for some cases e.g. when multiple users log in via SSH to the same system.


The simplest form of talking to other users only requires installing inetutils, which contains talk and talkd.

Then, start/enable talk.socket (the talk.service will automatically be started at the first use of talk).

Alternatively, the talk daemon can be handled by xinetd, you would then start xinetd.service.


Allow write access in your terminal if needed:

$ mesg y

If you use the xinetd service, configure the entry by editing /etc/xinetd.d/talk and setting disable = no.

Now reload xinetd.service.


To test by talking to yourself, you might need to start a GNU Screen session to make yourself show up with w and who—you need to show up there or talk will not work.

To talk to someone the command is just

$ talk username

Of course, you can talk to users on another system as well, and optionally specify to which tty you want to talk to:

$ talk username@hostname tty

"tty" is of the form "ttyXX", or "pts/X".