ARCHIVED: In Unix, how do I make plan and project files that will show up when people finger my account?

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A plan is a text file named .plan that is located in your main directory. It is displayed when someone checks your account with the finger command. A project file is similar to a .plan file, but is only one line long and has the filename .project. Most people put personal information, such as a weekly schedule or office hours, in a .plan file, and a very brief description of current goals in a .project file.

Note: The period at the beginning of the filenames is necessary.

Setting up a .plan file

To make a .plan file for your account, follow these steps:

  1. To make sure you are in your home directory, at the Unix prompt, enter:
  2. Using a text editor, such as Emacs, Pico, or vi, create a file called .plan. In it, write the text that you want people to see when they finger your account. When you are finished, save your file, making sure to use the filename .plan. Return to the Unix prompt.
  3. Finally, you need to set the file permissions with the chmod command, to make sure other people will be able to read the contents of the file. In your home directory, enter the following two commands at the Unix prompt:
      chmod o+rx .plan
      chmod o+x .

    The first command gives others read and execute permission on your .plan file, and the second gives them execute permission on your top level directory.

You should now have a working .plan file. To have a friend check to make sure that your plan is readable, at the Unix prompt, have your friend enter:

  finger username@your_computer

Have your friend replace username with your username, and replace your_computer with the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the computer where your .plan file is located. For example, the command might look something like:


If the text of your .plan file isn't displayed, make sure that your file is stored in your home directory and that the file permissions are set correctly.

Setting up a .project file

Constructing a .project file involves almost the same procedure as making a .plan file. Create a text file named .project with an editor, enter a single line of text, and save the file, as described above. When someone fingers your account, your .project file should be displayed on a single line above your .plan information.

At Indiana University, for personal or departmental Linux or Unix systems support, see Get help for Linux or Unix at IU.

This is document afky in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2018-01-18 10:00:07.