WRITE(1) BSD General Commands Manual WRITE(1)
write — send a message to another user
write user [tty]
The write utility allows you to communicate with other users, by copying
lines from your terminal to theirs.
When you run the write command, the user you are writing to gets a mes‐
sage of the form:
Message from yourname@yourhost on yourtty at hh:mm …
Any further lines you enter will be copied to the specified user’s termi‐
nal. If the other user wants to reply, they must run write as well.
When you are done, type an end-of-file or interrupt character. The other
user will see the message ‘EOF’ indicating that the conversation is over.
If the user you want to write to is logged in on more than one terminal,
you can specify which terminal to write to by specifying the terminal
name as the second operand to the write command. Alternatively, you can
let write select one of the terminals – it will pick the one with the
shortest idle time. This is so that if the user is logged in at work and
also dialed up from home, the message will go to the right place.
The traditional protocol for writing to someone is that the string ‘-o’,
either at the end of a line or on a line by itself, means that it is the
other person’s turn to talk. The string ‘oo’ means that the person
believes the conversation to be over.
A write command appeared in Version 1 AT&T UNIX.
The sender’s LC_CTYPE setting is used to determine which characters are
safe to write to a terminal, not the receiver’s (which write has no way
The write utility does not recognize multibyte characters.
BSD July 17, 2004 BSD