NWG/RFC# 742 KLH 30-Dec-77 08:31 42758
Network Working Group K. Harrenstien
Request for Comments: 742 SRI-KL
NIC: 42758 30 December 1977 NAME/FINGER
This note describes the Name/Finger protocol. This is a simple
protocol which provides an interface to the Name and Finger programs
at several network sites. These programs return a friendly,
human-oriented status report on either the system at the moment or a
particular person in depth. Currently only the SAIL (SU-AI), SRI
(SRI-(KA/KL)), and ITS (MIT-(AI/ML/MC/DMS)) sites support this
protocol, but there are other systems with similar programs that
could easily be made servers; there is no required format and the
protocol consists mostly of specifying a single "command line".
To use via the network:
ICP to socket 117 (octal, 79. decimal) and establish two 8-bit
Send a single "command line", ending with <CRLF>.
Receive information which will vary depending on the above line and
the particular system. The server closes its connections as soon as
this output is finished.
The command line:
Systems may differ in their interpretations of this line. However,
the basic scheme is straightforward: if the line is null (i.e. just
a <CRLF> is sent) then the server should return a "default" report
which lists all people using the system at that moment. If on the
other hand a user name is specified (e.g. FOO<CRLF>) then the
response should concern only that particular user, whether logged in
Both ITS and SAIL sites allow several names to be included on the
line, separated by commas; but the syntax for some servers can be
slightly more elaborate. For example, if "/W" (called the "Whois
switch") also appears on the line given to an ITS server, much fuller
descriptions are returned. The complete documentation may be found
at any time in the files ".INFO.;NAME ORDER" on MIT-AI,
"FINGER.LES[UP,DOC]" on SU-AI, and "<DOCUMENTATION>FINGER.DOC" on
SRI-KL, all freely accessible by FTP (with the exception of SRI-KL,
where TOPS-20 requires the "anonymous" login convention).
Allowable "names" in the command line should of course include "user
names" or "login names" as defined by the system, but it is also
reasonable to understand last names or even full names as well. If a
name is ambiguous, all possible derivations should be returned in
some fashion; SAIL will simply list the possible names and no more,
whereas an ITS server will furnish the full standard information for
Response to null command line - "default" listing:
This is a request for a list of all online users, much like a TOPS-10
or TENEX "systat". To fulfill the basic intent of the Name/Finger
programs, the returned list should include at least the full names of
each user and the physical locations of their terminals insofar as
they can be determined. Including the job name and idle time (number
of minutes since last typein, or since last job activity) is also
reasonable and useful. The appendix has examples which demonstrate
how this information can be formatted.
Response to non-null command line - "name" listing:
For in-depth status of a specified user, there are two main cases.
If the user is logged in, a line or two is returned in the same
format as that for the "default" listing, but showing only that user.
If not logged in, things become more interesting. Furnishing the
full name and time of last logout is the expected thing to do, but
there is also a "plan" feature, wherein a user may leave a short
message that will be included in the response to such requests. This
is easily implemented by (for example) having the program look for a
specially named text file on the user's directory or some common
area. See the examples for typical "plans".
Anyone wishing to implement such a server is encouraged to get in
touch with the maintainers of NAME by sending a message to BUG-NAME @
MIT-AI; apart from offering advice and help, a list of all sites
with such servers is kept there. It is also suggested that any
existing programs performing similar functions locally (i.e. not as
net servers) be extended to allow specification of other sites, or
names at other sites. For example, on ITS systems one can say
":NAME<cr>" for a local default listing, or ":NAME @SAIL<cr>" for
SAIL's default listing, or ":NAME Foo@MC<cr>" to ask MIT-MC about
Foo's status, etc.
It should be noted that connecting directly to the server from a TIP
or an equally narrow-minded TELNET-protocol user program can result
in meaningless attempts at option negotiation being sent to the
server, which will foul up the command line interpretation unless the
server knows enough to filter out IAC's and perhaps even respond
negatively (IAC WON'T) to all option commands received. This is a
convenience but is not at all required, since normally the user side
is just an extended NAME/FINGER type program.
And finally a little background:
The FINGER program at SAIL, written by Les Earnest, was the
inspiration for the NAME program on ITS. Earl Killian at MIT and
Brian Harvey at SAIL were jointly responsible for implementing the
protocol just described, and Greg Hinchliffe has recently brought up
a similar server for SRI-KA and SRI-KL.
Note: it is possible for some lines of the actual output to exceed 80
chars in length. The handling of such lines is of course dependant on
the particular user program; in these examples, lines have been
truncated to 72 chars for greater clarity.
Three examples with a null command line:
-User- --Full name-- Jobnam Idle TTY -Console location-
XGP O Xerox Graphics Printer XGPSPL T24 Datapoint Near XGP (9TH)
FFM U Steven J. Kudlak HACTRN T41 Net site CMU-10A
KLH + Ken Harrenstien F T42 Net site SRI-KL
___013 - Not Logged In HACTRN 1:26.T43 DSSR UNIX x3-6048 (MIT-*
CWH U Carl W. Hoffman E 4.T50 919 Very Small Data Bas*
CARL A Carl Hewitt HACTRN 5:03.T52 813 Hewitt x5873
APD M Alexander Doohovskoy XGP 1:52.T54 912 9th Floor Lounge x6*
JJK T James Koschella E T55 824 Hollerbach, Levin, *
KEN L Kenneth Kahn E T56 925 Moon (Tycho under) *
Person Job Jobnam Idle Terminal
DAN Dan Sleator 46 MACLSP DM-3 150/1200 modem 415 49*
DEK Don Knuth 3 E 3. tv-55 205 Library
20 PI 2 TV-55 205 Library
ES Gene Salamin 44 SD MC TV-40 223a Farmwald
JJ Jerrold Ginsparg 11 TELNET DM-0 150/1200 modem 415 49*
JMC John McCarthy 1 FINGER . detached
12 E 2. IML-15 McCarthy's house
KRD Randy Davis 42 AID 7 TV-52 203 Allen
LES Les Earnest 23 TEMPS 2. DM-1 150/1200 modem 415 49*
ME Martin Frost 17 E 3 tv-46 220 Filman, Frost
31 E TV-46 220 Filman, Frost
PAM Paul Martin 9 E TV-106 251C King, Levy, Martin
ROD Rod Brooks 37 MACLSP 3 TV-117 250C
RWG Bill Gosper 30 SD MC TV-34 230e Robinson
TV-67 213 Kant, McCune, Steinbe*
RWW Richard Weyhrauch 39 E TV-42 214 Weyhrauch
SYS system files 6 FINGER PTY122 job 5 Arpanet site AI*
Examples with names specified:
Command line: klh
KLH + Ken Harrenstien Last logout 10/16/77 13:02:11 No plan.
Command line: cbf
CBF M Charles Frankston Not logged in. Plan:
I'll be visiting another planet til about December 15. If anyone
wants to get a hold of me transmit on some fundamental wavelength
(like the radius of the hydrogen atom).
Command line: smith
BRIAN A Brian C. Smith Last logout 11/24/77 08:02:24 No plan.
DBS T David B. Smith Last logout 12/03/77 11:24:01 No plan.
BPS T Byron Paul Smith Not logged in. No plan.
GRS U Gary R. Smith Last logout 12/12/77 18:43:19 No plan.
JOS S Julius Orion III Smith Last logout 11/29/77 06:18:18 No plan.
$PETE M PETER G. SMITH, Not logged in. No plan.
IAN L Ian C. Smith Not logged in. No plan.
AJS D Arnold J. Smith Last logout 12/09/77 14:31:11 No plan.
Command line: smith
"SMITH" is ambiguous:
RS Bob Smith
DAV Dave Smith
JOS Julius Smith
LCS Leland Smith
Command line: jbr
Person Job Jobnam Idle Line Room Location
JBR Jeff Rubin 16 COPY 27. TV-43 222 Rubin
TV-104 233 hand-eye table
Command line: bh
Person Last logout
BH Brian Harvey 22:49 on 14 Dec 1977. Plan:
^O08-Oct-77 2156 BH ^Y12257 (1-Jul-78)
Weekdays during the day I'm usually unreachable; I'm either at S.F.
State or at Benjamin Franklin JHS in San Francisco, but neither place
is recommended for leaving messages. Evenings and weekends I'm
generally home (55) 751-1762 unless I'm at SAIL. I log in daily from
Command line: greg
GREG (Greg Hinchliffe) is on the system:
Job Subsys # Siz Runtime 1m% 15m% TTY Room Console Location
62 EXEC 1 0 0:00:10.6 0.8 235 (SUMEX-AIM)
Last login: Mon 12-Dec-77, 15:05, from SUMEX-AIM (Host #56.)
GREG has no new mail, last read on Mon 12-Dec-77 15:10