finger -- find information about users


finger [ -bfilpqsw ] [ login1 [ login2 ... ] ]


By default finger lists the login name, full name, terminal name and write status (as a ``*'' before the terminal name if write permission is denied), idle time, login time, office location, and phone number (if they are known) for each current user. (Idle time is minutes if it is a single integer, hours and minutes if a colon (:) is present, or days and hours if a ``d'' is present.)

A longer format also exists and is used by finger whenever a list of names is given. (Account names as well as first and last names of users are accepted.) This is a multi-line format; it includes all the information described above as well as the user's home directory and login shell, any plan which the person has placed in the file .plan in their home directory, and the project on which they are working from the file .project which is also in the home directory.

finger options are:

Briefer long output format of users.

Suppresses the printing of the header line (short format).

Quick list of users with idle times.

Forces long output format.

Suppresses printing of the .plan files.

Quick list of users.

Forces short output format.

Forces narrow format list of specified users.


Entries in the /etc/passwd file have the following format:

login name:user password(coded):user ID:group ID:comments:home
:login shell

The comment field corresponds to what appears in the finger output. For example, in the following /etc/passwd entry:

blf:x:47:5:Brian Foster, Mission, x70, 767-1234

the comment field, ``Brian Foster, Mission, x70, 767-1234,'' contains data for the ``In Real Life,'' ``Office,'' and ``Home Phone'' columns of the finger listings.


Only the first line of the .project file is printed.

Idle time is computed as the elapsed time since any activity on the given terminal. This includes previous invocations of finger which may have modified the terminal's corresponding device file /dev/tty??.


who file

user names, offices, phones, login directories, and shells



See also

w(C), who(C)

Standards conformance

finger is not part of any currently supported standard; it was developed at the University of California at Berkeley and is used by permission.
© 2003 Caldera International, Inc. All rights reserved.
SCO OpenServer Release 5.0.7 -- 11 February 2003