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term(7)                                                                term(7)

       term - conventions for naming terminal types

       The  environment  variable TERM should normally contain the type name of the termi-
       nal, 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  suf-
       fice for workstation and microcomputer consoles.

       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 emulators.

       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

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

       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 sys-
       tem, 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(1M) 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  let-
       ter).   This  command  dumps a capability file in the text format described by ter-

       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 termi-
       nated 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 plat-
       form-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 termi-
       nals 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 does not fit one of the standard
       ANSI or vt100 types) should be the program name or a readily recognizable abbrevia-
       tion of it (i.e. versaterm, ctrm).

       Following the root name, you may add any reasonable number of hyphen-separated fea-
       ture 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

       -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 envi-
       ronment variable when no -T option is specified.

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

            compiled terminal capability data base

            tty line initialization (AT&T-like UNIXes)

            tty line initialization (BSD-like UNIXes)

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


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