I have any number of improper puns I could use here, to introduce
finger. But what strikes me more than the potential to be marginally rude, is the fact that in both Arch and Debian, finger is not installed by default.
Maybe that was always the case, but I could swear years ago in Ubuntu, finger was included in some such or other package, and installed as part of the base system.
Maybe that’s just my memory skipping a rail, but it’s in Arch as netkit-bsd-finger, and in Wheezy as just finger.
I don’t think any less of finger for being thrown out of the default arrangement. There are other user polling tools available, some of which we will see in the years to come.
Either way, for fun and profit, you can see some statistics on your system’s users with just a simple
finger kmandla -s or
finger kmandla -l. No doubt system administrators would find that useful.
I feel obligated to mention that I occasionally see cautions against using finger, because it’s an opportunity for an attacker to get a user’s information by randomly throwing out potential names.
There are some safeguards against that — I think the
.nofinger file helps prevent this — so if you’re worried about finger, but need it for a system, be aware of the risks.
And with that, I will successfully close this post without any lame finger jokes. Ta-da!
I’m a little disappointed you have not mentioned the wider network usage of `finger’. For example (IIRC) the Debian developers database can be accessed using `finger’ and sdf.org/sdf-eu.org offer the opportunity for members to set up Internet accessible `finger’ profiles.
These are things I didn’t know about … 🙂 Thanks!
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