‘finger’ Command to display the user detail in CentOS / Red Hat / Fedora / Ubuntu / Scientific Linux and other Distributions

Some times ‘finger’ utility is not installed on your  system, to install the ‘finger’ utility on your system you use ‘yum’ command for Redhat base system and ‘apt-get’ command for Debian base system.

To install ‘finger’ command on Redhat base system such as CentOS:

[root@localhost ~]# yum install finger

To install ‘finger’ command on Debian base system such as Ubuntu:

root@ubuntu:~# apt-get install finger

 Syntax for finger command:

finger [-lmsp] [user …] [user@host …]

Use ‘finger’ command with ‘-l ‘ option :


With the ‘-l ‘ optin ‘finger’ command produces 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 ofthe files “.plan”, “.project”, “.pgpkey” and “.forward” from the user’s home directory. Phone numbers specified as  ten or seven digits are printed as the appropriate set of the  +N-NNN-NNN-NNN string. 


If write permission is denied to the device, the phrase(messagesoff) is appended to the line containing the device name.  One entry per user is displayed with the -l option; if a user is loggedon multiple times, terminal information is repeated once per login.


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.

[root@localhost ~]# finger -l intzar
Login: intzar                           Name: Intzar Ahmed
Directory: /home/intzar                 Shell: /bin/bash
Office: c-168 Near Kalindikunj          Office Phone: 123-456-7890
Home Phone: 123-456-7890
Last login Tue Apr  5 17:02 (IST) on pts/0
No mail.
No Plan.
[root@localhost ~]#

Use ‘finger’ command with ‘-m ‘ option :

With the ‘-m ‘ option ‘finger’ command prevent matching of user names.  User is usually a login name; how ever, 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.


[root@localhost ~]# finger -m intzar
Login: intzar                           Name: Intzar Ahmed
Directory: /home/intzar                 Shell: /bin/bash
Office: c-168 Near Kalindikunj          Office Phone: 123-456-7890
Home Phone: 123-456-7890
Last login Tue Apr  5 17:02 (IST) on pts/0
No mail.
No Plan.
[root@localhost ~]#

Use ‘finger’ command with ‘-p ‘ option :

With the  ‘-p ‘  finger command prevents the -l option of finger from displaying the contents of the “.plan”, “.project” and “.pgpkey” files.


[root@localhost ~]# finger -p intzar
Login: intzar                           Name: Intzar Ahmed
Directory: /home/intzar                 Shell: /bin/bash
Office: c-168 Near Kalindikunj          Office Phone: 123-456-7890
Home Phone: 123-456-7890
Last login Tue Apr  5 17:02 (IST) on pts/0
No mail.
[root@localhost ~]#


Use ‘finger’ command with ‘-s’ option :


with the -s   option finger displays the user’s login name, real name, terminal name and write status (as a “*” after the terminal name if write permission is denied), idle time, login time, office location and office phone number. Login time is displayed as month, day, hours and minutes, unless  more than six months ago, in which case the year is displayed rather than the hours and minutes. Unknown devices as well as nonexistent idle and login times are displayed as single asterisks.


[root@localhost ~]# finger -s intzar
Login     Name           Tty      Idle  Login Time   Office     Office Phone   Host
intzar    Intzar Ahmed   pts/0       *  Apr  5 17:02 c-168 Near 123-456-7890   (192.168.198.1)
[root@localhost ~]#


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  them. If no arguments are specified, finger will print an entry for each user currently logged into the system.

Finger 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 format for  the latter is the -s style.  The -l option is the only option that may be   passed to a remote machine.

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