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NAME    [Toc]    [Back]

       term - conventions for naming terminal types

DESCRIPTION    [Toc]    [Back]

       The  environment variable TERM should normally contain the type name of
       the terminal, console or  display-device  type  you  are  using.   This
       information  is	critical  for  all screen-oriented programs, including
       your editor and mailer.

       A default TERM value  will  be  set  on	a  per-line  basis  by	either
       /etc/inittab   (Linux  and  System-V-like  UNIXes)  or  /etc/ttys  (BSD
       UNIXes).  This will nearly always suffice for workstation and microcomputer

       If  you	use a dialup line, the type of device attached to it may vary.
       Older UNIX systems pre-set a very dumb terminal	type  like  `dumb'  or
       `dialup'  on  dialup lines.  Newer ones may pre-set `vt100', reflecting
       the prevalence of DEC VT100-compatible terminals and  personal-computer

       Modern  telnets pass your TERM environment variable from the local side
       to the remote one.  There can be problems if  the  remote  terminfo  or
       termcap entry for your type is not compatible with yours, but this situation
 is rare and can almost always be avoided by explicitly exporting
       `vt100'	(assuming you are in fact using a VT100-superset console, terminal,
 or terminal emulator.)

       In any case, you are free to override the system TERM setting  to  your
       taste in your shell profile.  The tset(1) utility may be of assistance;
       you can give it a set of rules for deducing or  requesting  a  terminal
       type based on the tty device and baud rate.

       Setting	your  own  TERM value may also be useful if you have created a
       custom entry incorporating options (such as  visual  bell  or  reversevideo)
  which  you  wish  to  override the system default type for your

       Terminal type descriptions are  stored  as  files  of  capability  data
       underneath /usr/share/terminfo.	To browse a list of all terminal names
       recognized by the system, do

	    toe | more

       from your shell.  These capability files are in a binary  format  optimized
  for  retrieval  speed  (unlike the old text-based termcap format
       they replace); to examine an entry, you must use  the  infocmp(1)  command.
  Invoke it as follows:

	    infocmp entry-name

       where  entry-name  is the name of the type you wish to examine (and the
       name of its capability file  the  subdirectory  of  /usr/share/terminfo
       named  for  its first letter).  This command dumps a capability file in
       the text format described by terminfo(5).

       The first line of a terminfo(5) description gives the  names  by  which
       terminfo  knows a terminal, separated by `|' (pipe-bar) characters with
       the last name field terminated by a comma.  The first name field is the
       type's primary name, and is the one to use when setting TERM.  The last
       name field (if distinct from the first) is actually  a  description  of
       the  terminal  type  (it  may contain blanks; the others must be single
       words).	Name fields between  the  first  and  last  (if  present)  are
       aliases for the terminal, usually historical names retained for compatibility.

       There are some conventions for how to  choose  terminal	primary  names
       that  help  keep  them  informative and unique.	Here is a step-by-step
       guide to naming terminals that also explains how to parse them:

       First, choose a root name.  The root will consist of a lower-case  letter
  followed by up to seven lower-case letters or digits.  You need to
       avoid using punctuation characters in root names, because they are used
       and  interpreted  as filenames and shell meta-characters (such as !, $,
       *, ? etc.) embedded in them may cause odd and unhelpful behavior.   The
       slash  (/),  or any other character that may be interpreted by anyone's
       file system (\, $, [, ]), is especially dangerous  (terminfo  is  platform-independent,
  and  choosing  names	with  special characters could
       someday make life difficult for users of a future port).  The  dot  (.)
       character  is  relatively safe as long as there is at most one per root
       name; some historical terminfo names use it.

       The root name for a terminal or workstation console type should	almost
       always  begin  with a vendor prefix (such as hp for Hewlett-Packard, wy
       for Wyse, or att for AT&T terminals), or a common name of the  terminal
       line  (vt  for  the  VT	series	of  terminals from DEC, or sun for Sun
       Microsystems workstation  consoles,  or	regent	for  the  ADDS	Regent
       series.	 You  can  list  the  terminfo	tree  to see what prefixes are
       already in common use.  The root name prefix should  be	followed  when
       appropriate by a model number; thus vt100, hp2621, wy50.

       The  root  name	for a PC-Unix console type should be the OS name, i.e.
       linux, bsdos, freebsd, netbsd.  It should not be console or  any  other
       generic that might cause confusion in a multi-platform environment!  If
       a model number follows, it should indicate either the OS release  level
       or the console driver release level.

       The  root  name for a terminal emulator (assuming it doesn't fit one of
       the standard ANSI or vt100 types) should be the program name or a readily
 recognizable abbreviation of it (i.e. versaterm, ctrm).

       Following  the  root name, you may add any reasonable number of hyphenseparated
 feature suffixes.

       2p   Has two pages of memory.  Likewise 4p, 8p, etc.

       mc   Magic-cookie.  Some terminals (notably older Wyses) can only  support
 one attribute without magic-cookie lossage.  Their base entry
	    is usually paired with another that has this suffix and uses magic
	    cookies to support multiple attributes.

       -am  Enable auto-margin (right-margin wraparound)

       -m   Mono mode - suppress color support

       -na  No	arrow  keys  -	termcap  ignores arrow keys which are actually
	    there on the terminal, so the user can use the arrow keys locally.

       -nam No auto-margin - suppress am capability

       -nl  No labels - suppress soft labels

       -nsl No status line - suppress status line

       -pp  Has a printer port which is used.

       -rv  Terminal in reverse video mode (black on white)

       -s   Enable status line.

       -vb  Use visible bell (flash) rather than beep.

       -w   Wide; terminal is in 132 column mode.

       Conventionally,	if your terminal type is a variant intended to specify
       a line height, that suffix should go first.   So,  for  a  hypothetical
       FuBarCo	model  2317  terminal in 30-line mode with reverse video, best
       form would be fubar-30-rv (rather than, say, `fubar-rv-30').

       Terminal types that are written not as standalone entries,  but	rather
       as  components  to  be plugged into other entries via use capabilities,
       are distinguished by using embedded plus signs rather than dashes.

       Commands which use a terminal type to control display often accept a -T
       option  that  accepts  a  terminal name argument.  Such programs should
       fall back on the TERM environment variable when no -T option is	specified.

PORTABILITY    [Toc]    [Back]

       For maximum compatibility with older System V UNIXes, names and aliases
       should be unique within the first 14 characters.

FILES    [Toc]    [Back]

	    compiled terminal capability data base

	    tty line initialization (AT&T-like UNIXes).

	    tty line initialization (BSD-like UNIXes).

SEE ALSO    [Toc]    [Back]

       curses(3X), terminfo(5), term(5).

[ Back ]
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