ANNOUNCE   [plain text]

                            Announcing ncurses 5.2

   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 should port easily
   to any ANSI/POSIX-conforming UNIX. It has even been ported to OS/2

   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
   5.1; very few applications will require recompilation, depending on
   the platform. These are the highlights from the change-log since
   ncurses 5.1 release.

   Interface changes:
     * change type of ospeed variable back to short to match its use in
       legacy applications. It was altered after ncurses 4.2 to speed_t
       to repair a type mismatch which was introduced after 1.9.4 in
       1995. The principal users of termcap continued to use short, which
       is not the same size.
       NOTE: A few applications will have to be recompiled (about 1% of
       the programs in a typical Linux distribution, 10% of the programs
       that use ncurses). These are easy to identify with nm or strings.
     * remove a private function _nc_can_clear_with(), which was built
       with the configure --enable-expanded option but not used.
     * add several private functions (prefixed with "_nc_") for tracing
       chtype values in the debug library, and for better access and
       buffer limit checking.

   New features and improvements:
     * rewrote tgoto() to make it better support existing termcap
       applications which use hardcoded strings rather than obtain all of
       their information from the termcap file. If the string does not
       appear to be a terminfo string (i.e., does not refer to a "%p"
       parameter, or terminfo-style padding), and termcap support is
       configured, tgoto() will interpret it as termcap. Otherwise, as
       before, it will use tparm().
     * to ensure that the tgoto() changes work properly, added checks to
       tic which report capabilities that do not reference the expected
       number of parameters.
     * new configure script options:
          + option --disable-root-environ adds runtime checks which tell
            ncurses to disregard $TERMINFO and similar environment
            variables if the current user is root, or running
          + option --disable-assumed-color allows you to use the pre-5.1
            convention of default colors used for color-pair 0 to be
            configured (see assume_default_colors()).
          + implement configure script options that transform installed
            program names, e.g., --program-prefix, including the manpage
            names and cross references.
          + option --with-database allows you to specify a different
            terminfo source-file to install. On OS/2 EMX, the default is
            misc/emx.src, otherwise misc/terminfo.src
          + option --with-default-terminfo-dir allows you to specify the
            default terminfo database directory.
          + option --with-libtool allows you to build with libtool.
            NOTE: libtool uses a different notation for numbering shared
            library versions from the existing ncurses configuration.
          + option --with-manpage-tbl causes the manpages to be
            preprocessed by tbl(1) prior to installation,
          + option --without-curses-h causes the installation process to
            install curses.h as ncurses.h and make appropriate changes to
            headers and manpages.
     * modified configure script options:
          + change symbol used by the --install-prefix configure option
            from INSTALL_PREFIX to DESTDIR (the latter has become common
            usage although the name is misleading).
          + modify ld -rpath options (e.g., Linux, and Solaris) to use an
            absolute pathname for the build tree's lib directory,
            avoiding confusion with directories relative to the current
            one with the installed programs.
          + modified misc/ to use tic -o, to eliminate
            dependency on $TERMINFO variable for installs.
     * terminfo database:
          + updated xterm terminfo entries to match XFree86 xterm patch
          + added amiga-vnc, Matrix Orbital, and QNX qansi to
          + added os2 entry to misc/emx.src.
          + add S0 and E0 extensions to screen's terminfo entry since
            otherwise the FreeBSD port makes it pass termcap equivalents
            to tgoto, which would be misinterpreted by older versions of
     * improvements to program usability:
          + modify programs to use curses_version() string to report the
            version of ncurses with which they are compiled rather than
            the NCURSES_VERSION string. The function returns the patch
            level in addition to the major and minor version numbers.
          + modify tput program so it can be renamed or invoked via a
            link as 'reset' or 'init', producing the same effect as
            tput reset or tput init.
          + add error checking to infocmp's -v and -m options to ensure
            that the option value is indeed a number.
     * improved performance:
          + replace a lookup table in lib_vidattr.c used to decode
            no_color_video with a logic expression which is faster.

   Major bug fixes:
     * correct manlinks.sed script introduced in ncurses 5.1 to avoid
       using ERE "\+", which is not understood by standard versions of
       sed. This happens to work with GNU sed, but is not portable, and
       was the initial motivation for this release.
     * remove "hpux10.*" case from CF_SHARED_OPTS configure script macro.
       This differed from the "hpux*" case by using reversed symbolic
       links, which made the 5.1 version not match the configuration of
       5.0 shared libraries.
     * guard against corrupt terminfo data:
          + modify tparm() to disallow arithmetic on strings, analyze the
            varargs list to read strings as strings and numbers as
          + modify tparm()'s internal function spop() to treat a null
            pointer as an empty string.
          + modify parse_format() in lib_tparm.c to ignore precision if
            it is longer than 10000.
          + rewrote limit checks in lib_mvcur.c using new functions
            _nc_safe_strcat(), etc. Made other related changes to check
            lengths used for strcat() and strcpy().
     * corrections to screen optimization:
          + added special case in lib_vidattr.c to reset underline and
            standout for devices that have no sgr0 defined.
          + change handling of non_dest_scroll_region in tty_update.c to
            clear text after it is shifted in rather than before shifting
            out. Also correct row computation.
          + modify rs2 capability in xterm-r6 and similar entries where
            cursor save/restore bracketed the sequence for resetting
            video attributes. The cursor restore would undo that.
     * UTF-8 support:
          + when checking LC_ALL, LC_CTYPE, and LANG environment
            variables for UTF-8 locale, ignore those which are set to an
            empty value, as per SUSV2.
          + encode 0xFFFD in UTF-8 with 3 bytes, not 2.
          + modify _nc_utf8_outch() to avoid sign-extension when checking
            for out-of-range value.
     * other library fixes:
          + added checks for an empty $HOME environment variable, to
            avoid retrieving terminfo descriptions from ./.terminfo .
          + change functions _nc_parse_entry() and postprocess_termcap()
            to avoid using strtok(), because it is non-reentrant.
          + initialize fds[] array to 0's in _nc_timed_wait(); apparently
            poll() only sets the revents members of that array when there
            is activity corresponding to the related file.
          + add a check for null pointer in Make_Enum_Type().
          + fix a heap problem with the c++ binding.
          + correct missing includes for <string.h> in several places,
            including the C++ binding. This is not noted by gcc unless we
            use the -fno-builtin option.
     * several fixes for tic:
          + add a check for empty buffers returned by fgets() in
            comp_scan.c next_char() function, in case tic is run on a
            non-text file (fixes a core dump).
          + modify tic to verify that its inputs are really files, in
            case someone tries to read a directory (or /dev/zero).
          + correct an uninitialized parameter to open_tempfile() in
            tic.c which made "tic -I" give an ambiguous error message
            about tmpnam.
          + correct logic in adjust_cancels(), which did not check both
            alternatives when reclassifying an extended name between
            boolean, number and string, causing an infinite loop in tic.
     * using new checks in tic for parameter counts in capability
       strings, found/fixed several errors both in the terminfo database
       and in the include/Caps file.
          + modified several terminfo capability strings, including the
            definitions for setaf, setab, in include/Caps to indicate
            that the entries are parameterized. This information is used
            to tell which strings are translated when converting to
            termcap. This fixes a problem where the generated termcap
            would contain a spurious "%p1" for the terminfo "%p1%d".
          + correct parameter counts in include/Caps for dclk as well as
            some printer-specific capabilities: csnm, defc, scs, scsd,
            smgtp, smglp.
     * various fixes for install scripts used to support configure
       --srcdir and --with-install-prefix.
     * correct several mismatches between manpage filename and ".TH"
       directives, renaming dft_fgbg.3x to default_colors.3x and
       menu_attribs.3x to menu_attributes.3x.

     * configure script:
          + newer config.guess, config.sub, including changes to support
            OS/2 EMX. The configure script for OS/2 EMX still relies on a
            patch since there is no (working) support for that platform
            in the main autoconf distribution.
          + make configure script checks on variables $GCC and $GXX
            consistently compare against 'yes' rather than test if they
            are nonnull, since either may be set to the corresponding
            name of the C or C++ compiler.
          + change configure script to use AC_CANONICAL_SYSTEM rather
            than AC_CANONICAL_HOST, which means that configure --target
            will set a default program-prefix.
          + modify the check for big-core to force a couple of memory
            accesses, which may work as needed for older/less-capable
            machines (if not, there's still the explicit configure
          + modify configure test for tcgetattr() to allow for old
            implementations, e.g., on BeOS, which only defined it as a
          + add configure check for filesystems (such as OS/2 EMX) which
            do not distinguish between upper/lowercase filenames, use
            this to fix tags rules in makefiles.
          + add to generate fallback definitions for
            ncurses_cfg.h, to quiet gcc -Wundef warnings, modified
            ifdef's in code to consistently use "#if" rather than
          + change most remaining unquoted parameters of test in
            configure script to use quotes, for instance fixing a problem
            in the --disable-database option.
          + modify scripts so that "make" works on OS/2 EMX.
          + modify scripts and makefiles so the Ada95 directory builds on
            OS/2 EMX.
     * library:
          + replaced case-statement in _nc_tracebits() for CSIZE with a
            table to simplify working around implementations that define
            random combinations of the related macros to zero.
          + improved OS/2 mouse support by retrying as a 2-button mouse
            if code fails to set up a 3-button mouse.
          + added private entrypoint _nc_basename(), used to consolidate
            related code in progs, as well as accommodating OS/2 EMX
          + alter definition of NCURSES_CONST to make it non-empty.
          + redefine 'TEXT' in menu.h for AMIGA, since it is reported to
            have an (unspecified) symbol conflict.
     * programs:
          + modified progs/tset.c and tack/sysdep.c to build with sgttyb
            interface if neither termio or termios is available. Tested
            this with FreeBSD 2.1.5 (which does have termios - but the
            sgttyb does work).

                              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 4.1
          file manager

          mail utility

          file-transfer utility

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

          newsreader, supporting color, MIME

          tape archive utility

          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

   The original developers of ncurses are [17]Zeyd Ben-Halim and [18]Eric
   S. Raymond. Ongoing work is being done by [19]Thomas Dickey and
   [20]Jürgen Pfeifer. [21]Thomas Dickey acts as the maintainer for the
   Free Software Foundation, which holds the copyright on ncurses.
   Contact the current maintainers at [22]

   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 [23]

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 includes and uses a version of the terminfo-format
   terminal description file maintained by Eric Raymond.

   You can find lots of information on terminal-related topics not
   covered in the terminfo file at [25]Richard Shuford's archive.


   8. file://localhost/usr/build/ncurses/ncurses-5.2-20001021/doc/html/