Home > Mac OS X, Unix > Setting up a talk server on OS X

Setting up a talk server on OS X

Before IRC, AOL Instant Messenger and Apple’s Messages, there was talk. talk is a Unix text chat program, allowing messaging between users of Unix-based systems. While it’s been largely superseded by other chat applications, it’s still included with OS X Mavericks as the ntalk service.

Setting up a talk server on OS X

To start the talk server on OS X, run the following command to start the ntalk service:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ntalk.plist

To stop a running talk server, run the following command to stop the ntalk service:

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ntalk.plist

Using talk

It’s pretty straightforward to use talk. To talk to another user logged in on the same host, use this command:

talk username_here

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.08.26 PM  

To talk to a user on another host, use this command:

talk username_here@hostname

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 10.45.04 PM

Once communication is established, the two parties may type simultaneously, with their output appearing in separate windows. One thing to know is that output is reflected live to both sides; every character typed (typos and all) will be visible.

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 10.45.21 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.09.02 PM

Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 11.09.23 PM

Talk commands

Reprint screen – Typing control-L will cause the screen to be reprinted.
Clear screen – Typing control-D will clear both parts of your screen to be cleared, while the control-D character will be sent to the remote side (and just displayed by this talk client).
Exit current talk session – To exit, type control-C.

For more information on talk, please see the man page:
https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man1/talk.1.html

Categories: Mac OS X, Unix
  1. December 11, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Reblogged this on n93.

  2. melmaninga
    December 12, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Wow this brings back memories.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: