How to send a system message to all *BSD users

Any good system administrator needs to be able to send authoritative messages to any online users. Fortunately, with BSD variants such as FreeBSD and OpenBSD, it is very easy with a tool called “wall”.

To send a general message to all users logged into the system, follow this format:

# wall

your message here

more of your message

At the end of your message, press CTRL+D to send.

For example, if you want to inform all users that the system will be shutting down for maintenance, you would type:

# wall

The system will reboot to complete maintenance in 15 minutes. Please save your work

— Your friendly system admin

You can also send messages to specific group members with the “-g” option. For example, to send messages only to those in the “wheel” group (for administrators), enter:

# wall -g wheel


Wall is a helpful tool for communicating with users logged into your server, and it is available on most Unix-like operating systems, including BSD variants and Linux distributions.