[Wolves] LAN instant messaging

James Turner james at turnersoft.co.uk
Wed Sep 6 09:15:52 BST 2006

On Tuesday 05 September 2006 13:01, Alex Willmer wrote:

> Some half baked ideas:
> For unix -> unix there was the talk command, it would require shell logins
> between the machines:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_(Unix)
> There are apparently successors such as ytalk, which allow more than 2 to
> chat simultaneously. I've only used talk (whatever was installed by
> Mandrake before it was Mandriva).

The way these worked is you would type:

talk <user>@<host>

They would see a message on their console (or a specified TTY):

Talk requested by james at host2 pts/1
Please respond with: talk james at host2

Once they resopnd as requested, the terminal window would then be split into 
two "panes"... You type into the bottom pane, anything the person you are 
talking to types will appear in the top pane. CTRL+C (IIRC) by either party 
will end the session.

An underlying assumption is that the users have at least one terminal open, 
which may not always be the case for these new-style "non-geek" users, 
however this shouldn't be a problem if people are in the same room/building 
and can agree to each open a terminal beforehand.

> For Windows, there was a simple MS chat program I remember using at
> school. It was on NT 4.0, and must have used some sort of local network
> broadcast, but in recent years I was unable to find a reference to it.

It was called WinPopup, and was included on Windows for Workgroups 3.11, 
Windows NT and the Windows 9x series. It is not included with Windows 2000 
and later although the old version could probably be copied onto the machine 
and still work. WinPopup worked using the NetBIOS "Messanger" service. On 
receiving machines that are not running WinPopup, received messages were 
displayed as error boxes instead.

Amusingly, there was no requirement or provision to authenticate with the 
receiving machine in order to send it a message, which led to the messenger 
service being widely used to pop-up eroneous messages on people's screens. 
(E.g.: "Your computer is infected with a virus. Please download the antidote 
from http://www.spyware-worms-r-us.com/" and the like.) Microsoft's 
recommended solution: Disable the messenger service.

The (Windows) command-line equivalent to send a message is "net message" (if I 
recall correctly... or was it "net send"... or something-or-other starting 
with "net").

> If the message was entirely one way (tel -> studio), you could even fake
> it with 'echo Line 7 is waiting >> somefile' and 'tail -f somefile'. But
> it would be very hackish.

....or use the "write" and "wall" commands. (See man pages for details).



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