the finger protocol was created way back in 1977. its purpose was to display information about the queried user of a system, or all the users of a system.

# user finger

here on envs.net, we run efingerd. see man efingerd for more info.
you can create a script called ~/.efingerd which will be run when anyone fingers you.

querying

the standard query for finger is simply

finger user@envs.net

which displays login name, home directory, shell, real name, current login time, idle time, whether or not the user has mail, and the contents of the user's ~/.plan, ~/.project and ~/.tz file.

.plan

The ~/.plan file displayed at the end of the finger query response allows for some customization. You can put literally any text you want there. Status updates, summaries, etc. This little file allows us to use finger as a rudimentary social network.

For example, say you want to use it as a personal summary, like having a blurb about what you're working on. Place the statement into ~/.plan and you're ready to go!

For a more traditional social network style format, put dated and timed status updates as if you're tooting on a mastodon instance. The sky's the limit! Well, actually, text is the limit. But you get the idea. Right?

.project

in the ~/.project file you can deposit information about your projects.

.tz

the ~/.tz file displayed your timezone informations.

example:
  Europe/Berlin

hope to see you on finger soon!