TALK(1) User Commands TALK(1)


talk - talk to another user


talk address [terminal]


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

When first invoked, talk sends a message similar to:

Message from TalkDaemon@ her_machine at time ...
talk: connection requested by your_address
talk: respond with: talk your_address

to the specified address. At this point, the recipient of the message can
reply by typing:

talk your_address

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:

o Typing the alert character will alert the recipient's

o Typing Control-L will cause the sender's screen regions to be

o Typing the erase and kill characters will affect the sender's
terminal in the manner described by the termios(3C) interface.

o Typing the interrupt or end-of-file (EOF) characters 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 talk session has been
terminated and will be able to do nothing except exit.

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

o When and only when the stty iexten local mode is enabled,
additional special control characters and multi-byte or
single-byte characters are processed as printable characters
if their wide character equivalents are printable.

o Typing other non-printable characters will cause them to be
written to the recipient's terminal as follows: control
characters will appear as a caret (^) followed by the
appropriate ASCII character, and characters with the high-
order bit set will appear in "meta" notation. For example,
`\003' is displayed as `^C' and `\372' as `M-z'.

Permission to be a recipient of a talk message can be denied or granted
by use of the mesg(1) utility. However, a user's privilege may further
constrain the domain of accessibility of other users' terminals. Certain
commands, such as pr(1), disallow messages in order to prevent
interference with their output. talk will fail when the user lacks the
appropriate privileges to perform the requested action.

Certain block-mode terminals do not have all the capabilities necessary
to support the simultaneous exchange of messages required for talk. When
this type of exchange cannot be supported on such terminals, the
implementation may support an exchange with reduced levels of
simultaneous interaction or it may report an error describing the
terminal-related deficiency.


The following operands are supported:

The recipient of the talk session. One form of address is the
username, as returned by the who(1) utility. If you wish to
talk to someone on your own machine, then username is just
the person's login name. If you wish to talk to a user on
another host, then username is one of the following forms:


although user@host is perhaps preferred.

If the recipient is logged in more than once, terminal can be
used to indicate the appropriate terminal name. If terminal
is not specified, the talk message will be displayed on one
or more accessible terminals in use by the recipient. The
format of terminal will be the same as that returned by who.


See environ(7) for descriptions of the following environment variables
that affect the execution of talk: LANG, LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES,

Determine the name of the invoker's terminal type. If this
variable is unset or null, an unspecified terminal type will be


The following exit values are returned:

Successful completion.

An error occurred, or talk was invoked on a terminal incapable of
supporting it.


host name database

user and accounting information for talk


See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

|Interface Stability | Standard |


mail(1), mesg(1), pr(1), stty(1), who(1), write(1), termios(3C),
attributes(7), environ(7), standards(7)


Typing Control-L redraws the screen, while the erase, kill, and word kill
characters will work in talk as normal. To exit, type an interrupt
character. talk then moves the cursor to the bottom of the screen and
restores the terminal to its previous state.

November 6, 2000 TALK(1)