Finger Command

The finger command shows information about a user account such as the name of the user, when the account was last accessed, and where the account is located. To view an individual’s finger (GECOS) information, type:

    finger [options] <username>@<>

The options you can use are outlined below:

    -l Force long output format.
    -s Force short output format.
    -h Suppress printing of the .project file in a long format printout.
    -p Suppress printing of the .plan file in a long format printout.

To see who is logged in to a particular host, type:

    finger @<>
    Example: finger

Changing Finger (GECOS) Information

To change your finger information, type:


You will be prompted to type in your password. Enter the password at Current

You will then be prompted to type in your Full name, Office Location, Office Phone Number, Home Phone Number and Comments as follows:

Default values are printed inside of ‘[]’.
To accept the default, press the <RETURN> key.
To specify a blank entry, type the word `none’.

Full name (e.g. `John W. Smith’) [Tommy Trojan]:
Office Location (e.g. `SAL 125′) [STU 100]:
Office Phone Number (e.g. `740-2957′) [740-GOSC]:
Home Phone Number (e.g. `213-777-3456′) [none]:
Comments (e.g. `My student account’) [Fight On]:

After filling in your information, you will be asked if this information is correct as follows:

    Full Name: Tommy Trojan
         Office Location: STU 100
         Office Phone Number: 740-GOSC
         Home Phone Number: 
         Comments: Fight On
    Is this information correct [Yes]? y

If you respond “no”, you will be asked to fill in the information again. If you respond “yes”, you will get the following confirmation message:

    Your request to change your finger (GECOS) information 
    has been queued for later processing.
    This change may take up to two hours to take effect.

Adding Finger (GECOS) Information

When someone fingers your account, you can have a plan and/or project displayed.

To do this, create a file called “.plan” and/or “.project” in your home directory using a text editor like pico, emacs, or vi. Type the information you would like to include and save the file.

Once you have created the file(s), you need to set the correct permissions so that people can view your plan and/or project. To set permissions to make the file(s) world readable, type the following at the unix prompt:

    chmod a+r .plan
    chmod a+r .project

You will also need to make your directory world executable. At the unix prompt, type:

    chmod a+x ~

Now, when someone fingers your account, they will see your finger information as well as the plan and/or project you have created.

For more information about finger, type:

    man finger