msn [profilename]


This manual page documents briefly the msn command.

This manual page was written for the Debian distribution because the original program does not have a manual page.

msn is a program intended to be used as a proof of concept for the msnlib functions. It shows some of the capabilities of the library.

When a profilename is passed as parameter, msn will use that profile account information (previously configured and stored by msnsetup) to connect.


The program has a builtin command "help" which shows the latest list of commands available for the program. Below is the complete list of commands available.

In most cases, when you are asked for a nick, you can alternatively enter the email. This makes it easier to handle people with weird or long nicks.

status [mode]

Shows the current status, or changes it to "mode", which can be one of: online, away, busy, brb, phone, lunch, invisible, idle


Quits the program.


Prints your entire contact list. Contacts connected are highlighted in bold.


Prints your entire contact list, including email addresses.


Prints your entire contact list, including real nicknames.


Prints your reverse contact list (this is simply the list of all the people who have you on their contact list).


Prints the differences between your forward and reverse lists.


Prints your online contacts.


Prints your online contacts, including email addresses.


Prints your online contacts with the groups.


Prints your online contacts, including real nicknames.


Shows your incoming message history. This is a list of the last N messages that you received. The amount is configurable with the directive "input history size" in the msnrc file, which defaults to 10.

add email [nick][groupname]

Adds the user "email" with the nickname "nick" to the group "groupname".

del nick

Deletes the user with nick "nick".

ren nick newnick

Renames the user with nick "nick" to appear as "newnick".

info [nick]

Without parameters shows your personal info. If a nick is passed as parameter, shows the user information and pending messages (if any). It also includes some advanced information (like the server socket or tid).

lignore [nick]

Locally ignores the user, or displays the locally ignored users list. This makes the messages coming from the user not to be displayed, but they are still logged so you can see them later.

lunignore nick

Removes a user from the locally ignored users list.

block nick

Blocks a user.

unblock nick

Unblocks a blocked user.


Shows the groups list.

gadd gname

Adds the group "gname".

gdel gname

Deletes the group "gname". Note that all the users in the group will be deleted too.

gren old new

Renames the group "old" with the name "new".

color [theme]

Shows the available color themes, or sets the color theme to "theme".

close nick

Closes the switchboard connection with "nick". There is no need to use this command and is included just for advanced users and debugging.


Shows the configuration, in the internal representation, along with other special automatic variables. This means that many commands and values won't have the same format; for instance, instead of 'yes' you will often see a "1". This command is mostly exclusively included for bug reporting.

info [nick]

Shows the user information and pending messages (if any), or your personal info.

nick [newnick]

Changes your nick to "newnick", or shows your current nick.

privacy p a

Sets whether to accept messages from people who is not on your list (p) and require authorization (a).

m nick text

Sends a message to "nick" with the "text". The standard and most practical way of sending a message. Tab completion expands to this.

a text

Sends a message with "text" to the last person you sent a message to.

r text

Sends a message with "text" to the last person that sent you a message.

invite nick1 to nick2

Invites nick1 into the chat with nick2.



The default configuration file for the account information, stored by msnsetup.


The configuration file for a specific profile name that stores that account information, chosen by the user and stored by msnsetup.


The following diagnostics may be issued on stderr:

Bad configuration file. Exiting.

The configuration file seems to contain a broken configuration line. Use the --verbose option, to get more info.

msn provides some return codes, that can be used in scripts:

Program exited successfully.
The configuration file seems to be broken.


Comments and patches are always welcome; please send them to [email protected]

Further information on how to report a bug can be found inside the documentation directory, in the file 'reporting_bugs'.



Julia Palandri <[email protected]>

Wrote this manpage for the Debian system.


Copyright © 2011 Julia Palandri

This manual page was written for the Debian system (and may be used by others).

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 or (at your option) any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL.