purchased the VT and Dorio terminal business from DEC. To get Specs
select either ADDS, VT, or DORIO links. Then select a "data
sheet" link. Then on the data sheet select the "Go to Specs" link.
Wyse has detailed info (such as escape sequences) in it's
knowledge base. It's not as complete as a real manual since it mainly
cover "native" personality.
Wyse text-terminals database For current models see
Teemworld Escape Sequences is a list of escape sequences (and
control codes) for some terminal emulations (including VT 100, 300,
420, and Wyse).
As far as I know, there is no satisfactory book on text terminals
Although this HOWTO has been published as a book, I don't suggest that
that you buy it if you have access to the online version which I'm
improving on every month or so. The following are mainly of
Handbook of Interactive Computer Terminals by Duane E. Sharp;
Reston Publishing Co. 1977. (mostly obsolete)
Communicating with Display Terminals by Roger K. deBry;
McGraw-Hill 1985. (mostly on IBM synchronous terminals)
The "HANDBOOK ... " presents brief specifications of over 100 different
models of antique terminals made in the early 1970's by over 60
different companies. It also explains how they work physically but
has a diagram for a CRT which erroneously shows electrostatic
deflection of the electron beam (p. 36). Terminals actually used
magnetic deflection (even in the 1970's). This book explains a number
of advanced technical concepts such as "random scan" and "color
The "COMMUNICATING ... " book in contrast to the "Handbook ... " ignores
the physical and electronic details of terminals. It has an entire
chapter explaining binary numbers (which is not needed in a book on
terminals since this information is widely available elsewhere). It
seems to mostly cover old IBM terminals (mainly the 3270) in block and
synchronous modes of operation. It's of little use for the commonly
used ANSI terminals used today on Unix-like systems. Although it does
discuss them a little it doesn't show the various wiring schemes used
to connect them to serial ports.
Books with chapters on terminals
These chapters cover almost nothing about the terminals themselves
and their capabilities. Rather, these chapters are mostly about how
to set up the computer (and its terminal driver) to work with
terminals. Due to the differences of different Unix-like systems,
much of the information does not not apply to Linux.
Unix Power Tools by Jerry Peck et. al. O'Reilly 1998.
Ch. 5 Setting Up Your Terminal, Ch. 41: Terminal and Serial Line
Settings, Ch. 42: Problems With Terminals
Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment by W. Richard Stevens
Addison-Wesley, 1993. Ch. 11: Terminal I/O, Ch. 19: Pseudo Terminals
Essential System Administration by Aleen Frisch, 2nd ed.
O'Reilly, 1998. Ch. 11: Terminals and Modems.
The "UNIX POWER TOOLS" book has 3 short chapters on text terminals.
It covers less ground than this HOWTO but gives more examples to help
The "ADVANCED PROGRAMMING ... " Chapter 11 covers only the device driver
included in the operating system to deal with terminals. It explains
the parameters one gives to the stty command to configure the
The "ESSENTIAL SYSTEM ..." book's chapter has more about terminals
than modems. It seems well written.
Under Microsoft's DOS one may use the DOS command "ctty COM2" so
that the DOS command line will display on a serial terminal (on COM2
in this example). Unfortunately one can then no longer
use the computer monitor since MS DOS is not a multiuser operating
system. Nor can more than one terminal be used. So this capability
is of little (if any) benefit. If you emulate DOS under Linux with
the free dosemu, it's reported that you can run several terminals
(multiuser). But it's reported that PCTerm emulation doesn't work
with it (yet ??).
While MS didn't create a "multiuser DOS" OS, others did. This permits
the use of many terminals on one DOS PC. It's compatible with most
MS-DOS software. One multiuser DOS OS is named "REAL/32". The
terminal's "pcterm" emulation is used here. There also may be a
"scan" (scancodes) setup mode which needs to be set. Other OSs such
as PICK, PC-MOS, and Concurrent DOS were/are multiuser and support
There are 3 programs for Linux which let you run Windows applications
on a Linux PC: free: Wine, non-free: VMware and NeTraverse. Can they
use text-terminals under DOS? Wine can't since it doesn't have a DOS
mode. The other two require you to run the MS Windows OS software as
a "guest OS". The guest MS Windows OS has a DOS mode but it's not of
much use for text-terminals since it's not multiuser.
For other unix-like OSs, the configuration of the host computer for
terminals is usually significantly different than for Linux. Here are
some links to on-line manuals for unix-like systems.