Finger is a command-line utility, originally developed for Unix-based systems, that allows users to retrieve information about system users on a remote machine, such as login names, full names, and last login times. By sending a query to a remote Finger daemon, it facilitates the discovery and sharing of user information over a network. Although Finger was widely used during the early days of the internet, the protocol is now considered antiquated and has been replaced by more secure alternatives for sharing user information.


The phonetic spelling of the keyword “Finger” is: /ˈfɪŋɡər/

Key Takeaways

  1. Finger is a utility in UNIX-based operating systems used for accessing user-related information such as email addresses, full names, and login times.
  2. Originally designed for academics and researchers, Finger has encountered privacy concerns and is now rarely enabled on modern systems.
  3. Alternatives to Finger include using web-based directory services or secure communication tools like encrypted email or messaging applications.


The technology term “Finger” is important because it refers to a software protocol and utility tool developed in the early days of the internet to allow users to obtain essential information about other users on a network.

It provided a means for users to identify the presence or status of colleagues, collaborators, or friends, enabling easy communication and collaboration among individuals.

This tool laid the foundation for how we share user-related data and interact in the digital sphere.

Today, various networking and user-profile sharing technologies are adapted from the concepts of the Finger protocol, continuing its legacy as a key component in shaping the way we communicate and engage with each other online.


Finger, in the context of technology, is a networking tool that was developed in the early days of the internet to help users obtain information about other users on a remote computer system. Its primary purpose was to provide a convenient means for users to gather basic information about others who were part of the same network or system, such as their real names, contact details, and the last login time.

The Finger protocol allowed users to make queries to a server which would then return relevant information about the specified user. This not only facilitated communication between members of the same network but also enabled system administrators to keep track of user activity and manage resources efficiently.

However, in today’s digital landscape, the usage of the Finger protocol has significantly diminished as privacy concerns and the potential for misuse became more apparent. In its heyday, Finger was particularly useful in academic and research institutions, where it facilitated collaboration between peers and helped in quickly identifying relevant individuals for research and other projects.

Presently, modern communication tools and social media platforms provide more powerful and user-friendly ways to maintain contact and exchange information with others, further reducing the reliance on the once-popular Finger command.

Examples of Finger

Fingerprint Scanners: Fingerprint scanners are a widely used biometric technology that allows for the identification and authentication of individuals based on their unique fingerprint patterns. These systems are commonly found in smartphones, laptops, and security systems to grant access to authorized users.

Electronic Voting Machines: In countries such as Brazil and India, electronic voting machines equipped with fingerprint recognition technology have been used to ensure secure and accurate elections. Finger biometric technology helps prevent voter fraud by verifying voter identity, reducing the chances of multiple votes and ensuring only authentic votes are counted.

Digital Payment Systems: Some digital payment platforms and online banking systems now use finger biometric technology to provide a secure method of verifying transactions. This technology allows users to confirm payments and other financial transactions without needing to remember complex passwords or PINs, making the process more convenient and secure.

Frequently Asked Questions: Finger

What is a finger?

A finger is a flexible, long appendage found on the human hand. Fingers are used for grasping, holding, and manipulating objects, as well as for touch and sensation. Each human hand has five fingers: the thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, and pinky finger.

What is the purpose of fingers?

Fingers play a critical role in our daily lives, allowing us to perform a wide range of activities that involve dexterity and precision. Fingers are essential for tasks such as writing, typing, playing musical instruments, and using tools. Additionally, fingers contain a high concentration of nerve endings that enable our sense of touch, helping us gather valuable information about the objects we interact with.

Why are fingers different lengths?

Fingers are different lengths to allow for increased functionality and versatility when it comes to grasping and manipulating objects. The varying lengths contribute to our hands’ ability to conform to various shapes and sizes, providing us with a firm grip and precise control over objects we hold.

How many bones are in a finger?

Each finger, except the thumb, contains three bones called phalanges, including the proximal phalanx (closest to the hand), the middle phalanx, and the distal phalanx (at the fingertip). The thumb has only two phalanges, the proximal and the distal. In total, there are 14 phalanges in each hand.

What is the medical term for finger?

The medical term for a finger is “digit.” This term is used to describe the fingers on the hands and the toes on the feet. The fingers are also referred to as phalanges, which denote the small bones that make up each digit.

Related Technology Terms

  • Fingerprint recognition
  • Capacitive touchscreens
  • Multi-touch gestures
  • Finger tracking
  • Haptic feedback

Sources for More Information


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