NAME/FINGER Protocol (RFC0742)
Original Publication Date: 1977-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)
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
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 connections.
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 or not.
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
NWG/RFC# 742 KLH 30-Dec-77 08:31 42758 Name/Finger
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 each possibility.
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 activit...