A recent 30 Rock episode had a great send-up of social media, as found with the website “Youface”.

On Youface, we learned, participants “fingertagged” each other…which is funny for this old-school Unix guy, since we used to “finger” each other from a Unix command line.  This would display info about you, as well as anything in your .plan file.

In fact, some folks used their .plan files as ways to publish information — gamers may remember fingering id Software for updates about Doom and Quake, for example.

It’s fairly easy to set up a finger server on Linux using xinetd.  For security’s sake, though, I suggest anyone wanting to do this not accept any input from the network, unless they know what they’re doing.  Finger servers have been a classic vector for remote attacks on hosts, including remote-root attacks.  Caveat Emptor.

Since I don’t know any better, I decided to set one up myself:  Sample files can be found here:


If you have a finger client:  finger @tech.ponzo.net to try it out.

And for another network protocol that nobody uses anymore, try: