write (Unix)

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write can refer to several Unix commands. All known variations of write are used to write messages to another user. The most popular variation sends a message directly to another user's TTY.


The syntax for the write command is:

$ write user [tty]

The write session is terminated by sending EOF, which can be done by pressing Ctrl+D. The tty argument is only necessary when a user is logged into more than one terminal.


A conversation initiated between two users on the same machine:

$ write root pts/7

Will show up to the user on that console as:

Message from root@punch on pts/8 at 11:19 ...


A version of the write command appeared in the First Edition of the Research Unix operating system. Another variation of write writes a message to a user on a Windows network, using the SMB packet format[citation needed].

Programmer's Workbench UNIX contained a program wall that wrote a message to all users in the same way.

The "Orville write" implementation of write dates from ca 1985.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jan, Wolter (2004-09-28). "Orville Write Homepage". Retrieved 2012-04-17. Orville write is a reimplementation of the Unix write program adds many nice features while remaining close to the standard Unix program in spirit. It has been very heavily used on M-Net since 1985 and on Grex since 1991, as well as a few other systems.