FINGER(1) BSD General Commands Manual FINGER(1)NAMEfinger — user information lookup program
SYNOPSISfinger [-46glmpshoT] [user ...] [user@host ...]
The finger utility displays information about the system users.
-4 Forces finger to use IPv4 addresses only.
-6 Forces finger to use IPv6 addresses only.
-s Display the user's login name, real name, terminal name and write
status (as a ``*'' before the terminal name if write permission
is denied), idle time, login time, and either office location and
office phone number, or the remote host. If -o is given, the
office location and office phone number is printed (the default).
If -h is given, the remote host is printed instead.
Idle time is in minutes if it is a single integer, hours and min‐
utes if a ``:'' is present, or days if a ``d'' is present. If it
is an “*”, the login time indicates the time of last login.
Login time is displayed as the day name if less than 6 days, else
month, day; hours and minutes, unless more than six months ago,
in which case the year is displayed rather than the hours and
Unknown devices as well as nonexistent idle and login times are
displayed as single asterisks.
-h When used in conjunction with the -s option, the name of the
remote host is displayed instead of the office location and
-o When used in conjunction with the -s option, the office location
and office phone information is displayed instead of the name of
the remote host.
-g This option restricts the gecos output to only the users' real
name. It also has the side-effect of restricting the output of
the remote host when used in conjunction with the -h option.
-l Produce a multi-line format displaying all of the information
described for the -s option as well as the user's home directory,
home phone number, login shell, mail status, and the contents of
the files .forward, .plan, .project and .pubkey from the user's
If idle time is at least a minute and less than a day, it is pre‐
sented in the form ``hh:mm''. Idle times greater than a day are
presented as ``d day[s]hh:mm''.
Phone numbers specified as eleven digits are printed as ``+N-NNN-
NNN-NNNN''. Numbers specified as ten or seven digits are printed
as the appropriate subset of that string. Numbers specified as
five digits are printed as ``xN-NNNN''. Numbers specified as
four digits are printed as ``xNNNN''.
If write permission is denied to the device, the phrase ``(mes‐
sages off)'' is appended to the line containing the device name.
One entry per user is displayed with the -l option; if a user is
logged on multiple times, terminal information is repeated once
Mail status is shown as ``No Mail.'' if there is no mail at all,
``Mail last read DDD MMM ## HH:MM YYYY (TZ)'' if the person has
looked at their mailbox since new mail arriving, or ``New mail
received ...'', ``Unread since ...'' if they have new mail.
-p Prevent the -l option of finger from displaying the contents of
the .forward, .plan, .project and .pubkey files.
-m Prevent matching of user names. User is usually a login name;
however, matching will also be done on the users' real names,
unless the -m option is supplied. All name matching performed by
finger is case insensitive.
-T Disable the piggybacking of data on the initial connection
request. This option is needed to finger hosts with a broken TCP
If no options are specified, finger defaults to the -l style output if
operands are provided, otherwise to the -s style. Note that some fields
may be missing, in either format, if information is not available for
If no arguments are specified, finger will print an entry for each user
currently logged into the system.
The finger utility may be used to look up users on a remote machine. The
format is to specify a user as “user@host”, or “@host”, where the default
output format for the former is the -l style, and the default output for‐
mat for the latter is the -s style. The -l option is the only option
that may be passed to a remote machine.
If the file .nofinger exists in the user's home directory, finger behaves
as if the user in question does not exist.
The optional finger.conf(5) configuration file can be used to specify
aliases. Since finger is invoked by fingerd(8), aliases will work for
both local and network queries.
The finger utility utilizes the following environment variable, if it
FINGER This variable may be set with favored options to finger.
/etc/finger.conf alias definition data base
/var/log/lastlog last login data base
SEE ALSOchpass(1), w(1), who(1), finger.conf(5), fingerd(8)
D. Zimmerman, The Finger User Information Protocol, RFC 1288, December,
The finger command appeared in 3.0BSD.
The current FINGER protocol RFC requires that the client keep the connec‐
tion fully open until the server closes. This prevents the use of the
optimal three-packet T/TCP exchange. (Servers which depend on this
requirement are bogus but have nonetheless been observed in the Internet
BSD July 22, 2002 BSD