|Introduction to Basic Unix System Administration|
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Unix provides the write command which sends messages to another user's screen.
The talk is somewhat more advanced than write: it splits up the screen in two halves. Each user can type when he wants in his half of the screen, two users can even enter text at the same time.
If you don't want other users to write or talk to you, enter the mesg no.
Enter mesg yes if you want to enable this feature again.
There are plenty of IRC clients and scripts, allowing live discussions with more than 2 participants. BitchX is a popular text IRC client, graphical clients are available in every flavour for X11, KDE and Gnome.
There are also ICQ clients for Unix available.