write (Unix)

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Original author(s)Dennis Ritchie,
Ken Thompson
Developer(s)AT&T Bell Laboratories
Initial releaseNovember 3, 1971; 50 years ago (1971-11-03)
Operating systemUnix and Unix-like

In Unix and Unix-like operating systems, write is a utility used to send messages to another user by writing a message directly to another user's TTY.[1]


The write command was included in the First Edition of the Research Unix operating system.[2]

Sample usage[edit]

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.[3]

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@wiki on pts/8 at 11:19 ...

See also[edit]


  1. ^ write(1) – Version 7 Unix Programmer's Manual
  2. ^ Unix Programmer's Manual (PDF) (1st ed.). Bell Labs. 3 November 1971. p. write(1). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 July 2016. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  3. ^ write(1) – util-linux man page