Site Root : xitalk




this program is similiar to xterm in that it wants to write you into the utmp file , to do so it will probably have to be suid root or set to the permissions of the utmp file anyway. as root do

 make install 

and it'll install it suid root for you, if that fails do chmod u+s /usr/local/bin/xitalk (or whatever it is)


I highly suggest you put mesg n into your .cshrc or whatever file is run by your shell at startup, otherwise xitalk wont really work.

e.g. my .cshrc

 if ($?prompt) then
   mesg n

the ($?prompt) makes sure that mesg isnt run when this is a non-interactive session, otherwise "not a tty" errors will be produced.

More Installation Details

by default xitalk looks for the pixmaps it uses in the directory that make install intends to put them, if you just want to compile and test without installing edit Makefile after configure and change

 libdir = /xitalk


 libdir = ./pixmaps

 make suid

This behaviour can be overridden by your .xitalk configuration file, as can the default behaviour and patterns used by xitalk. Its quite likely you will have to alter the basic patterns as talk and write daemons differ from each other. see sample.xitalk and sample2.xitalk for more info

What is xitalk (propaganda)

xitalk intercepts stuff like talk and write requests and allows predefined responses (such as a talk reply) anf the touch of a button. stops you getting your xterms filled with garbage when you dont want to have your xterm obscured. You can click on respond and avoid having to manually open another window and run talk or write or close down whatever you're running to respond to the talk/write request. Also it can be set up to automatically reply to messages, allowing you to respond automagically to write etc requests while you're gone. It has a file watch capability and can be used as a mail notification program. Left click on the picture for a control dialog, right click to directly run whatever xitalk has prepared for you.

what it really does

logs you into the utmp file on a particular tty, when you have mesg n on in every other terminal, the app will recieve talk and write requests etc. The app pattern matches the input it recieves on its pseudo-tty and when it gets a match it optionally beeps the user, changes its bitmap/xpm display (like xbiff or something of that nature) and readies a probable response for that input into its command edit line which you can then execute directly, unless you select have selected autoanser in which case it'll run that command.

the catches

you have to mesg n every login you have to make sure that xitalk gets the requests, and then it gets everything passed to it. it parses each line and uses regexp to match a line, so it only can match one line of text, (its quite dumb really but it suffices for my needs)

the catches with xitalk for the foreseeably future

  • i make no guarantees that its not riddled with bugs that could somehow be tweaked into allowing root access to stuff if you install it suid, as you probably would have to do to make it useful. Ive tried to make sure that its not riddled but...
  • with a write request your write partners output will appear in the xitalk box not the xterm thats spawned off with respond. Also all the responses are seperate apps, i might write some replacements some day.

see xitalks man page for details of its configuration file. well to be honest im rather crap at writing documentation, so you'd be better off looking at the sample .xitalkrc's and altering them.

xitalk page


Also included is something called dwrite which you can see i use in my sample configs , its a dumbed down write that doesnt require to be run from a tty, which is an advantage for automatic replies. write needs to be run from an xterm, wheres dwrite doesnt. see the little and sample2.xitalkrc for an example of its use.


configure file has chunks from bash's in there as well as sections from LyX's one. and the mail.xpm is a screenshot of coolmail, which is a cool looking mail notification utility.


if a compile fails on lex.yy.c. copy it from lex, and try make again. its geneated via lex/flex from parser.lex, and lexified programs have been the bane of my existance.

P.P.P.S: Problems and Solutions with xterms

when you run an xterm, it'll by default run your shell and go through the shell start up config, often not .login so put mesg n in your .bashrc or .tcshrc. Also doing an xterm -e telnet someplace_or_other doesnt run the .bashrc/.tcshrc so you can either use xterm -ut so that the xterm doesnt log itself into the utmp file so that requests wont end up here, or for e.g i only use xterm -e for telnet so ive telnet aliased to

 alias telnet 'sh -c "mesg n;exec telnet \!*"'

instead of making xterm not log me in.

Caolan McNamara (1999-2004) <>

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Last generated at Sat Nov 2 12:10:04 2013 Caolán McNamara <> Created with WebMake/0.5