SUMMARY: xterm/xdm finger problem with Solaris 2.4

From: Jack Porter (
Date: Wed Jul 12 1995 - 18:59:41 CDT

Hi Sun Managers,

My origional post regarded a problem with xdm and xterm logins not showing
in the finger list under Solaris 2.4. My post was:

> A few months ago I posted a message to this list explaining a problem with
> X users not appearing in the finger list, and a problem with users logged
> in via xdm.
> I received one reply saying that it was a known bug and there was not a lot
> I could do about it, and a handful of me toos.
> I hope that someone has a work-around because this is problem is becoming
> quite annoying!
> The problem is, any user who just runs an xterm (either on :0.0 or on another
> display) doesn't appear in the finger list. The +ut option to xterm doesn't
> seem to make any difference.
> Also, when a user has logged in to the console with xdm, and you attempt to
> finger them, the following occurs:
> scope% f jack
> finger: Can't stat /dev/:0
> Apparently this is because xdm puts :0 in utmp as the tty, which confuses
> finger.

I have so far only found a solution to the xdm side which causes the "finger:
Can't stat /dev/:0" problem

The solution was suggested by Philip Plane <> who pointed
me to a new version of sessreg written by Gary Mills <>.
By changing the sessreg commands in /usr/openwin/lib/Startup and Reset files,
using the new version of sessreg utmp is correctly updated.

You can find the fixed version of sessreg at his site

The README file gives examples of sessreg lines which work for me.
This produces output such as:

scope% f
Login Name TTY Idle When Where
jack Jack Porter null 4:50 Wed 10:11 :0

The null as tty solves the "finger: Can't stat /dev/:0" problem and gives the
finger entry for an xdm login. Having null as a tty seems to be fine although
in.talkd causes a line in messages which says:

Jul 12 15:38:05 scope talk: null in utmp is not a tty

but it seems to recover

George Cameron <> suggested I do the following:
scope# ln -s null /dev/:0

While this solved the "Can't stat" error it didn't give me an entry in the
finger list. (Johnie Stafford) suggested I get a copy of his modified
version of finger which apparently fixes the problem:
( I got the program
but it just gave me an illegal instruction. I think it may be a version
for Solaris for Intel, but I can't confirm this (I'm on a SPARC). He can't
recall where he got it from so I couldn't chase this lead up.

Thanks to all those who replied, but if anyone knows of a version of xterm
which correctly puts entries in utmp so they appear in the finger list (like
this version of sessreg does), please let me know, I'm sure the 10 or so
me toos are interested too!


Jack Porter, Computing Officer
Clinical Dentistry               Rm 2108.C, Dental School
University of Adelaide           Ph +61 8 303 3368, +61 8 303 3283 (secretary)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Sep 28 2001 - 23:10:29 CDT