gtalk(1) GNU talk client


gtalk --version
gtalk --help
gtalk --copyright
gtalk --test [--verbose]+
gtalk --subprocess [--verbose]+
gtalk --reply
gtalk [--curses] user@host [tty]
gtalk --auto-answer
gtalk --defaultroute addr


gtalk is a program which can be used with up to three different interfaces. The socket interface works under the emacs editor, thus the name gtalk, but it also works with it's own curses interface, as well as a Xt (athena) interface.

Gtalk is compatible with the talk protocols found on SunOS as well as the BSD protocol "ntalk". In addition, gtalk can run with the gtalkd extensions, allowing the ability to REPLY as well as interpret LOOK_HERE responses to announcements. Lastly, gtalk can access the ringer protocol and automatically answer any incomming calls without any intervention.

--auto-answer, -a
Start gtalk in auto-answer mode by installing a ringer file. --copyright, -C Display copyright information.
--curses, -c
Start in curses mode. If the Xt interface is not installed, this is the default.
--defaultroute, -d
Set the default return route for outbound UDP requests. If you use dynamic IP, you can write a script that will find what your IP address is, and pass that to gtalk w/ the -d parameter. Don't worry about talking to someone on your computer, as the local machine is always exempt from the filter.
--help, -h, -?
Display a useful help message
--no-init-file, -q
Start without readin in the initialization file .gtalkrc
--test, -t
Run the built in protocol test which will test most facets of the GNU talk and ringer protocols, BSD talk protocol, SunOS talk protocol, plus GNU simulation of the BSD and SunOS protocols. Some setup may be needed in the file ~/ to get this to be successful.
--reply, -r
Automatically query the local talk daemon to learn who most recently made a talk request for you, and automatically connect to them.
--subprocess, -s
Run gtalk in socket mode. Used under emacs for the emacs interface. Is also useful for playing around with the talk protocol to see what different messages do if the binary is compiled correctly.
--verbose, -v
Print extra information while running. This feature is automatically disabled in Curses mode, but works under the Xt interface, and in the Socket interface. Multiple occurances of --verbose increases the amount of output.
Prints the current version of gtalk.


Please reference the GTALK info page, as that will be more up to date than this man page.


Gtalk, when running under the Athena widget set, has the following modifiable X resources. These resources are associated with various widgets used to create the Xt interface.
Gtalk* .background, .foreground, etc
Basic application name, followed by one of the typical resources.
Top level pane widget.
This is a Box widget which holds the menu. The menu buttons are all named the same as the label which is on them.
This pane holds sub-panes which each individually hold the Text widget, and label associated with each user window.
This is the equivalent of a minibuffer in emacs.
This pane holds the text and label assocaited with the local user.
This pane holds the text and label assiciated with "username". This lets you give different users different colors!
This is a text widget found in specified pane.
This is the label showing user details.


This file contains information relating names socket/service information to names. It is used to determine the "[n]talk" socket when contacting a talk daemon.
System level gtalk initialization file. Contains valid gtalk commands and settings.
User gtalk initialization file. Contains valid gtalk commands and settings. See info file for extended commands.
System level host description file. Defines host names, and the talk daemon version assocaited with each.
Local version of the HOSTS file. Contains a user's personal list of host names and associated talk versions.
Contains a substitute for ~/
This is the "ringer" file which gtalkd reads. it holds a definition of a UDP socket address in host byte order. Gtalkd then sends the announcement to this socket instead of to the terminal associated with the user. If the definition in this file describes a host other than the one the talk daemon is on (a common occurance in a network which uses NFS heavilly), then a LOOK_HERE message is returned.
This is a filter file used by gtalkd to determine whether to announce to you or not. In it you can specify patterns of denial. See gtalkd(8) for details.
This variable describes an X display gtalk will attempt to use when initializing the Xt interface.
The PWD is referenced in the standard way to access your preferred finger name (long name) which is displayed and transferred between GNU clients.


Eric M Ludlam <[email protected]>


Currently there is no verification associated with some connections. This could result in unusual behavior durring high traffic. Report bugs to <[email protected]>.


Copyright © 1995, 1996 Eric M. Ludlam

Copyright © 1997 Free Software Foundation


The newest version of gtalk can be found within the gtalk distribution. As of the writing of this manual, it can be found on*.tar.gz