mesg(1) — Linux manual page


MESG(1)                       User Commands                      MESG(1)

NAME         top

       mesg - display (or do not display) messages from other users

SYNOPSIS         top

       mesg [option] [n|y]

DESCRIPTION         top

       The mesg utility is invoked by a user to control write access
       others have to the terminal device associated with standard error
       output. If write access is allowed, then programs such as talk(1)
       and write(1) may display messages on the terminal.

       Traditionally, write access is allowed by default. However, as
       users become more conscious of various security risks, there is a
       trend to remove write access by default, at least for the primary
       login shell. To make sure your ttys are set the way you want them
       to be set, mesg should be executed in your login scripts.

       The mesg utility silently exits with error status 2 if not
       executed on a terminal. In this case executing mesg is pointless.
       The command line option --verbose forces mesg to print a warning
       in this situation. This behaviour has been introduced in version

ARGUMENTS         top

           Disallow messages.

           Allow messages to be displayed.

       If no arguments are given, mesg shows the current message status
       on standard error output.

OPTIONS         top

       -v, --verbose
           Explain what is being done.

       -h, --help
           Display help text and exit.

       -V, --version
           Print version and exit.

EXIT STATUS         top

       The mesg utility exits with one of the following values:

           Messages are allowed.

           Messages are not allowed.

           An error has occurred.

FILES         top

       /dev/[pt]ty*, /dev/pts/[0-9]*

HISTORY         top

       mesg (I) appears in the UNIX Programmer’s Manual. It used to
       invert the current state with no argument before Version 7 AT&T

SEE ALSO         top

       login(1), talk(1), write(1), wall(1), xterm(1)

REPORTING BUGS         top

       For bug reports, use the issue tracker at

AVAILABILITY         top

       The mesg command is part of the util-linux package which can be
       downloaded from Linux Kernel Archive
       <>. This page
       is part of the util-linux (a random collection of Linux
       utilities) project. Information about the project can be found at
       ⟨⟩. If you have
       a bug report for this manual page, send it to This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨git://⟩ on
       2024-06-14. (At that time, the date of the most recent commit
       that was found in the repository was 2024-06-10.) If you discover
       any rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you
       believe there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page,
       or you have corrections or improvements to the information in
       this COLOPHON (which is not part of the original manual page),
       send a mail to

util-linux 2.39.594-1e0ad      2023-07-19                        MESG(1)

Pages that refer to this page: wall(1)