ANNOUNCE   [plain text]

                            Announcing ncurses 5.4

   The  ncurses  (new  curses)  library  is  a free software emulation of
   curses  in  System  V  Release 4.0, and more. It uses terminfo format,
   supports  pads  and color and multiple highlights and forms characters
   and   function-key   mapping,   and  has  all  the  other  SYSV-curses
   enhancements over BSD curses.

   In  mid-June  1995,  the  maintainer of 4.4BSD curses declared that he
   considered  4.4BSD  curses obsolete, and is encouraging the keepers of
   Unix  releases  such  as  BSD/OS, freeBSD and netBSD to switch over to

   The ncurses code was developed under GNU/Linux. It has been in use for
   some  time  with  OpenBSD as the system curses library, and on FreeBSD
   and  NetBSD  as  an  external  package.  It  should port easily to any
   ANSI/POSIX-conforming UNIX. It has even been ported to OS/2 Warp!

   The distribution includes the library and support utilities, including
   a   terminfo  compiler  tic(1),  a  decompiler  infocmp(1),  clear(1),
   tput(1),  tset(1),  and  a  termcap conversion tool captoinfo(1). Full
   manual pages are provided for the library and tools.

   The  ncurses  distribution  is  available via anonymous FTP at the GNU
   distribution site [1] .
   It is also available at [2] .

                                 Release Notes

   This  release is designed to be upward compatible from ncurses 5.0 and
   5.3;  very  few  applications will require recompilation, depending on
   the  platform.  These  are  the  highlights  from the change-log since
   ncurses 5.3 release.

   Interface changes:
     * add  the  remaining  functions  for  X/Open  curses wide-character
          + pecho_wchar()
          + slk_wset()
       These  are  only  available if the library is configured using the
       --enable-widec option.
     * write  getyx()  and related 2-return macros in terms of getcury(),
       getcurx(), etc.
     * simplify ifdef for bool declaration in curses.h
     * modify  ifdef's  in  curses.h that disabled use of __attribute__()
       for  g++,  since recent versions implement the cases which ncurses
     * add  key_defined()  function,  to  tell  which keycode a string is
       bound to.

   New features and improvements:
     * library
          + implement  logic  in  lib_mouse.c  to handle position reports
            which  are  generated  when XFree86 xterm is initialized with
            private  modes  1002  or  1003.  These  are  returned  to the
            application  as the REPORT_MOUSE_POSITION mask, which was not
          + modify soft-key initialization to use A_REVERSE if A_STANDOUT
            would  not  be  shown when colors are used, i.e., if ncv#1 is
            set in the terminfo as is done in "screen".
          + add  configure  option for FreeBSD sysmouse, --with-sysmouse,
            and implement library support for that.
     * programs:
          + tack:
               o allow it to run from fallback terminfo data.
               o reset  colors  after  each  color  test, correct a place
                 where    exit_standout_mode    was   used   instead   of
               o improve  bce  test  by  making  it set colors other than
                 black on white.
          + tic:
               o handle  a  case  where  an entry has no description, and
                 capabilities begin on the same line as the entry name.
               o allow a terminfo entry with a leading 2-character name.
               o improved  warnings  when  suppressing  items  to  fit in
                 termcap's 1023-byte limit.
               o add check for multiple "tc=" clauses in a termcap.
               o correct logic for resolving "use=" clauses allow infocmp
                 and tic to show cancelled capabilities.
               o check for incomplete line-drawing character mapping.
               o check for missing/empty/illegal terminfo name.
          + tput:
               o modify  tput  to  use  the  same  parameter  analysis as
                 tparm() does, to provide for user-defined strings, e.g.,
                 for  xterm  title,  a  corresponding capability might be
          + tset:
               o use  the  system's  default  values  for CKILL and other
                 default control characters.
               o correct  interchanged  defaults  for  kill and interrupt
                 characters, which caused it to report unnecessarily.

   Major bug fixes:
     * prevent  recursion  in  wgetch()  via wgetnstr() if the connection
       cannot  be  switched  between cooked/raw modes because it is not a
     * correct  a  case  in _nc_remove_string(), used by define_key(), to
       avoid  infinite loop if the given string happens to be a substring
       of other strings which are assigned to keys.
     * modify  logic  of acsc to use the original character if no mapping
       is defined, rather than a null.
     * several  improvements  for  handling  multi-cell  display  of wide
          + modify  setcchar()  to allow converting control characters to
            complex characters.
          + correct  handling of multibyte characters in waddch_literal()
            which force wrapping because they are started too late on the
          + modify  setcchar()  to  allow  for wchar_t input strings that
            have more than one spacing character.
     * other fixes for wide-character support:
          + rewrote  lib_acs.c  to  allow  PutAttrChar() to decide how to
            render alternate-characters, i.e., to work with Linux console
            and UTF-8 locale.
          + implement  a  workaround  so  that  line-drawing  works  with
            screen's  crippled  UTF-8  support (tested with 3.9.13). This
            only  works with the wide-character support (--enable-widec);
            the  normal  library  will  simply suppress line-drawing when
            running in a UTF-8 locale in screen.
          + corrections to lib_get_wstr.c:
               o null-terminate   buffer   passed  to  setcchar(),  which
                 occasionally failed.
               o map    special    characters    such   as   erase-   and
                 kill-characters  into  key-codes  so  those will work as
                 expected even if they are not mentioned in the terminfo.
     * modify  setupterm()  to  check  if the terminfo and terminal-modes
       have  already  been  read.  This ensures that it does not reinvoke
       def_prog_mode()  when an application calls more than one function,
       such as tgetent() and initscr().
     * fix    form_driver()    cases    for   REQ_CLR_EOF,   REQ_CLR_EOL,
       REQ_DEL_CHAR,  REQ_DEL_PREV and REQ_NEW_LINE, which did not ensure
       the   cursor   was   at   the   editing   position  before  making
     * correct keybound(), which reported definitions in the wrong table,
       i.e., the list of definitions which are disabled by keyok().
     * fixes related to safe_sprintf.c:
          + correct  an  allocation  size  in  safe_sprintf.c for the "*"
            format code.
          + correct  safe_sprintf.c  to  not return a null pointer if the
            format happens to be an empty string.
          + make   return   value  from  _nc_printf_string()  consistent.
            Before,  depending on whether --enable-safe-sprintf was used,
            it might not be cached for reallocating.
     * other low-level improvements to the optimization code include:
          + if  the  output  is  a  socket or other non-tty device, use 1
            millisecond  for  the  cost  in  mvcur;  previously  it was 9
            milliseconds because the baudrate was not known.
          + modify lib_getch.c to avoid recursion via wgetnstr() when the
            input is not a tty and consequently mode-changes do not work.
          + fix  several  places  in tack/pad.c which tested and used the
            parameter- and parameterless strings inconsistently.
          + change several tputs() calls in scrolling code to use putp(),
            to enable padding which may be needed for some terminals.
          + improve  mvcur() by checking if it is safe to move when video
            attributes   are   set  (msgr),  and  if  not,  reset/restore
            attributes   within   that  function  rather  than  doing  it
            separately in the GoTo() function in tty_update.c.
          + use tputs() rather than putp() in a few cases in tty_update.c
            since the corresponding delays are proportional to the number
            of       lines      affected:      repeat_char,      clr_eos,
     * correct  line/column  reference in adjust_window(), needed to make
       special windows such as curscr track properly when resizing.
     * fix a potential recursion between napms() and _nc_timed_wait()
     * rewrote lib_insch.c, combining it with lib_insstr.c so both handle
       tab and other control characters consistently.
     * do  not  try  to open gpm mouse driver if standard output is not a
       tty; the gpm library does not make this check.

     * configure script:
          + new options:

              --with-abi-version option.
                      addresses  platforms  where packagers have diverged
                      from ncurses ABI numbering.

                      addresses   behavior  of  BSDI,  allow  install  of
                      man+cat   files   on  NetBSD,  whose  behavior  has
                      diverged by requiring both to be present.

                      extends  "--with-manpage-aliases"  to  provide  the
                      option   of  generating  ".so"  files  rather  than
                      symbolic links for manpage aliases.

                      workaround  to force libtool on Darwin generate the
                      "same"  library  names  as with the "--with-shared"
                      option.  The  Darwin  ld program does not work well
                      with a zero as the minor-version value.

                      simplifies defining TRACE to incorporate trace() in

          + fixes/improvements for cross-compiling:
               o allow BUILD_CC and related configure script variables to
                 be overridden from the environment.
               o use AC_CHECK_TOOL to get proper values for AR and LD for
                 cross compiling.
               o use $cross_compiling variable in configure script rather
                 than  comparing  $host_alias  and  $target  alias, since
                 "host"  is traditionally misused in autoconf to refer to
                 the target platform.
               o modify to avoid using wrong shared libraries
                 when cross-compiling.
          + fixes for Mac OS X:
               o fix  a  redefinition  of $RANLIB in the configure script
                 when libtool is used.
               o modify to avoid passing "#" tokens through
                 the  C  preprocessor.  This  works  around  Mac  OS  X's
                 preprocessor,  which  insists  on adding a blank on each
                 side of the token.
          + workarounds for broken tools:
               o add configure check for wchar_t and wint_t types, rather
                 than  rely on preprocessor definitions. Also work around
                 for  gcc  fixinclude  bug which creates a shadow copy of
                 curses.h if it sees these symbols apparently typedef'd.
               o modify  configure  script  to omit -Winline for gcc 3.3,
                 since that feature is broken.
               o several script fixes to work around the ironically named
                 POSIXLY_CORRECT feature of GNU sed 4.0.
               o modify  configure script to avoid using "head -1", which
                 does not work if POSIXLY_CORRECT (sic) is set.
               o update    configure    script   to   reflect   fix   for
                 AC_PROG_GCC_TRADITIONAL,  which  is  broken  in autoconf
                 2.5x for Mac OS X 10.2.3.
               o repair  check  for missing C++ compiler, which is broken
                 in autoconf 2.5x by hardcoding it to g++.
          + corrected  ifdef's  relating  to configure check for wchar_t,
          + remove configure script check to allow -Wconversion for older
            versions of gcc
          + modify  configure  script to accommodate libtool 1.5, as well
            as  add an parameter to the "--with-libtool" option which can
            specify the pathname of libtool.
          + change  several  sed  scripts to avoid using "\+" since it is
            not  a  BRE  (basic  regular expression). One instance caused
            terminfo.5 to be misformatted on FreeBSD.
          + use  '%'  as  sed  substitute  delimiter in run_tic script to
            avoid problems with pathname delimiters such as ':' and '@'.
          + add  -D_XOPEN_SOURCE=500  if  needed  when  configuring  with
            "--enable-widec", to get mbstate_t declaration on HPUX 11.11.
     * library:
          + adjust  include-options  in  CF_ETIP_DEFINES to avoid missing
            ncurses_dll.h,  fixing special definitions that may be needed
            for etip.h.
          + modify CF_LIB_SUFFIX for Itanium releases of HP-UX, which use
            a ".so" suffix.
          + improve  ifdef's to guard against redefinition of wchar_t and
            wint_t in curses.h.
          + remove  an  #undef for KEY_EVENT from curses.tail used in the
            experimental   NCURSES_WGETCH_EVENTS   feature.   The  #undef
            confuses Debian dpkg's build script.

                              Features of Ncurses

   The ncurses package is fully compatible with SVr4 (System V Release 4)
     * All  257  of  the  SVr4  calls  have  been  implemented  (and  are
     * Full  support for SVr4 curses features including keyboard mapping,
       color,   forms-drawing   with   ACS   characters,   and  automatic
       recognition of keypad and function keys.
     * An  emulation  of  the  SVr4 panels library, supporting a stack of
       windows with backing store, is included.
     * An  emulation  of the SVr4 menus library, supporting a uniform but
       flexible interface for menu programming, is included.
     * An  emulation of the SVr4 form library, supporting data collection
       through on-screen forms, is included.
     * Binary   terminfo   entries   generated   by  the  ncurses  tic(1)
       implementation  are  bit-for-bit-compatible  with the entry format
       SVr4 curses uses.
     * The utilities have options to allow you to filter terminfo entries
       for  use  with  less  capable curses/terminfo versions such as the
       HP/UX and AIX ports.

   The ncurses package also has many useful extensions over SVr4:
     * The  API  is 8-bit clean and base-level conformant with the X/OPEN
       curses  specification, XSI curses (that is, it implements all BASE
       level   features,   but   not   all   EXTENDED   features).   Most
       EXTENDED-level features not directly concerned with wide-character
       support   are  implemented,  including  many  function  calls  not
       supported  under  SVr4  curses  (but  portability  of all calls is
       documented so you can use the SVr4 subset only).
     * Unlike  SVr3 curses, ncurses can write to the rightmost-bottommost
       corner  of  the  screen  if  your terminal has an insert-character
     * Ada95 and C++ bindings.
     * Support  for  mouse  event  reporting with X Window xterm and OS/2
       console windows.
     * Extended mouse support via Alessandro Rubini's gpm package.
     * The  function  wresize()  allows you to resize windows, preserving
       their data.
     * The function use_default_colors() allows you to use the terminal's
       default colors for the default color pair, achieving the effect of
       transparent colors.
     * The functions keyok() and define_key() allow you to better control
       the  use  of function keys, e.g., disabling the ncurses KEY_MOUSE,
       or  by  defining  more than one control sequence to map to a given
       key code.
     * Support for 16-color terminals, such as aixterm and XFree86 xterm.
     * Better  cursor-movement  optimization.  The package now features a
       cursor-local-movement computation more efficient than either BSD's
       or System V's.
     * Super   hardware   scrolling   support.   The  screen-update  code
       incorporates  a novel, simple, and cheap algorithm that enables it
       to  make  optimal  use  of hardware scrolling, line-insertion, and
       line-deletion  for  screen-line  movements. This algorithm is more
       powerful than the 4.4BSD curses quickch() routine.
     * Real  support  for  terminals  with  the  magic-cookie glitch. The
       screen-update  code  will  refrain from drawing a highlight if the
       magic-   cookie  unattributed  spaces  required  just  before  the
       beginning  and  after the end would step on a non-space character.
       It  will  automatically  shift  highlight boundaries when doing so
       would  make it possible to draw the highlight without changing the
       visual appearance of the screen.
     * It  is  possible to generate the library with a list of pre-loaded
       fallback  entries linked to it so that it can serve those terminal
       types  even  when  no  terminfo tree or termcap file is accessible
       (this  may  be useful for support of screen-oriented programs that
       must run in single-user mode).
     * The tic(1)/captoinfo utility provided with ncurses has the ability
       to  translate many termcaps from the XENIX, IBM and AT&T extension
     * A BSD-like tset(1) utility is provided.
     * The ncurses library and utilities will automatically read terminfo
       entries  from  $HOME/.terminfo  if  it exists, and compile to that
       directory  if  it  exists  and the user has no write access to the
       system  directory.  This feature makes it easier for users to have
       personal  terminfo  entries without giving up access to the system
       terminfo directory.
     * You  may  specify  a  path  of  directories to search for compiled
       descriptions  with  the  environment  variable TERMINFO_DIRS (this
       generalizes  the  feature  provided by TERMINFO under stock System
     * In  terminfo  source files, use capabilities may refer not just to
       other entries in the same source file (as in System V) but also to
       compiled  entries  in  either the system terminfo directory or the
       user's $HOME/.terminfo directory.
     * A  script  (capconvert)  is  provided to help BSD users transition
       from  termcap to terminfo. It gathers the information in a TERMCAP
       environment  variable  and/or  a ~/.termcap local entries file and
       converts   it   to   an   equivalent  local  terminfo  tree  under
     * Automatic  fallback  to  the  /etc/termcap file can be compiled in
       when  it is not possible to build a terminfo tree. This feature is
       neither  fast  nor cheap, you don't want to use it unless you have
       to, but it's there.
     * The  table-of-entries  utility  toe makes it easy for users to see
       exactly what terminal types are available on the system.
     * The library meets the XSI requirement that every macro entry point
       have  a  corresponding  function  which may be linked (and will be
       prototype-checked)  if  the  macro  definition  is  disabled  with
     * An  HTML  "Introduction  to  Programming  with  NCURSES"  document
       provides  a  narrative  introduction  to  the  curses  programming

                             State of the Package

   Numerous bugs present in earlier versions have been fixed; the library
   is  far  more  reliable  than  it  used to be. Bounds checking in many
   `dangerous'  entry points has been improved. The code is now type-safe
   according  to gcc -Wall. The library has been checked for malloc leaks
   and arena corruption by the Purify memory-allocation tester.

   The  ncurses  code has been tested with a wide variety of applications
   including (versions starting with those noted):

          Curses Development Kit


          the  underlying  application used in Slackware's setup, and the
          basis for similar applications on GNU/Linux.

          the character-screen WWW browser

   Midnight Commander
          file manager

          mail utility

          file-transfer utility

          New vi versions 1.50 are able to use ncurses versions 1.9.7 and

          Lynx-like info browser.

          newsreader, supporting color, MIME [13]

          Volks-Hypertext browser for the Jargon File

   as well as some that use ncurses for the terminfo support alone:

          terminal emulator


   The  ncurses  distribution  includes  a  selection  of  test  programs
   (including a few games).

Who's Who and What's What

   Zeyd  Ben-Halim started it from a previous package pcurses, written by
   Pavel  Curtis.  Eric  S. Raymond continued development. Jürgen Pfeifer
   wrote  most of the form and menu libraries. Ongoing work is being done
   by  [17]Thomas  Dickey.  Thomas  Dickey acts as the maintainer for the
   Free  Software  Foundation,  which  holds  the  copyright  on ncurses.
   Contact the current maintainers at [18]

   To   join   the   ncurses   mailing   list,   please  write  email  to containing the line:
             subscribe <name>@<host.domain>

   This list is open to anyone interested in helping with the development
   and testing of this package.

   Beta  versions  of ncurses and patches to the current release are made
   available at [19] .

Future Plans

     * Extended-level   XPG4   conformance,   with   internationalization
     * Ports to more systems, including DOS and Windows.

   We  need  people to help with these projects. If you are interested in
   working on them, please join the ncurses list.

Other Related Resources

   The  distribution  provides  a  newer  version  of the terminfo-format
   terminal  description file maintained by [20]Eric Raymond . Unlike the
   older  version, the termcap and terminfo data are provided in the same

   You  can  find  lots  of  information  on  terminal-related topics not
   covered in the terminfo file at [21]Richard Shuford's archive .