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Finger is a networking tool and one of the earliest computer networking programs that enabled a user to view another user’s basic information when that user used that same computer system or was logged on in the same network. The program can determine user identity though an email address and determine whether that user is currently logged in, as well as the status of their log sessions.
It was originally created by Les Earnest in 1971 and later became a standard part of BSD UNIX, and was commonly used by Windows users. This was later interfaced by David Zimmerman with the Name program to become the Name/Finger Protocol in 1977.
Finger was duly named for the act of pointing, as it points to a person as well as to different information regarding that user. When invoked, Finger displays information including the user’s real name, office location, phone number, and even their last log-in time, although the information displayed can be modified depending on the data maintained by the user in the computer system.
To be able to finger another Web user, the program must be installed in the user’s computer or access a finger gateway and type the user’s email address. The server at the other end must be able to handle finger requests too.