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+ Announcing ncurses 5.0
+ 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
+ ncurses.
+ 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
+ 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]ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu. It is also available
+ at [2]ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses.
+ Release Notes
+ We decided to release ncurses as a new whole number release (5.0)
+ because it incorporates several interface changes, including some that
+ would invalidate existing shared libraries. These are the highlights
+ from the change-log since ncurses 4.2 release.
+ Interface changes:
+ * The principal source of changes to the interface comes from the
+ release of X/Open Curses in 1997. Earlier versions of ncurses (4.0
+ and before) were based on a draft version of the specification.
+ The release version adds parameters to some functions to support
+ the evolving internationalization of curses. These summarize the
+ impact:
+ + modified several prototypes to correspond with 1997 version
+ of X/Open Curses (affects ABI since developers have used
+ attr_get).
+ + corrected prototypes for slk_* functions, using chtype rather
+ than attr_t.
+ + the slk_attr_{set,off,on} functions need an additional void*
+ parameter according to XSI.
+ + correct macros for wattr_set, wattr_get, separate wattrset
+ macro from these to preserve behavior that allows attributes
+ to be combined with color pair numbers.
+ + reviewed/updated curses.h, term.h against X/Open Curses Issue
+ 4 Version 2. This includes making some parameters
+ NCURSES_CONST rather than const, e.g., in termcap.h.
+ + reviewed/corrected macros in curses.h as per XSI document.
+ + add set_a_attributes and set_pglen_inch to terminfo
+ structure, as per XSI and Solaris 2.5.
+ * The newest version of the X/Open Curses is implemented on Solaris
+ and other vendor's systems. It adds new features to the terminfo
+ descriptions:
+ + implement tparm %l format.
+ + implement tparm printf-style width and precision for %s, %d,
+ %x, %o as per XSI.
+ * We made additional changes to reduce impact by future interface
+ changes:
+ + change key_names[] array to static since it is not part of
+ the curses interface.
+ + move macro winch to a function, to hide details of struct
+ ldat
+ * modify configure script to embed ABI in shared libraries for HP-UX
+ 10.x (detailed request by Tim Mooney).
+ * modify configuration of shared libraries on Digital Unix so that
+ versioning is embedded in the library, rather than implied by
+ links (patch by Tim Mooney).
+ New features:
+ * enable sigwinch handler by default.
+ * turn on hashmap scrolling code by default
+ * improved support for termcap applications
+ + modify tput to accept termcap names as an alternative to
+ terminfo names.
+ + provide support for termcap PC variable by copying it from
+ terminfo data and using it as the padding character in tputs.
+ + provide support for termcap ospeed variable by copying it
+ from the internal cur_term member, and using ospeed as the
+ baudrate reference for the delay_output and tputs functions.
+ + change name-comparisons in lib_termcap to compare no more
+ than 2 characters.
+ + add configure option --enable-tcap-names, which essentially
+ allows users to define new capabilities as in termcap.
+ * add mouse support to ncurses menus.
+ * add mouse and dll support for OS/2 EMX
+ * modify terminfo parsing to accept octal and hexadecimal constants
+ * add configure option --enable-no-padding, to allow environment
+ variable $NCURSES_NO_PADDING to eliminate non-mandatory padding,
+ thereby making terminal emulators (e.g., for vt100) a little more
+ efficient.
+ * modify lib_color.c to eliminate dependency on orig_colors and
+ orig_pair, since SVr4 curses does not require these either, but
+ uses them when they are available.
+ * add -f option to infocmp and tic, which formats the terminfo
+ if/then/else/endif so that they are readable (with newlines and
+ tabs).
+ * modify tic to compile into %'char' form in preference to
+ %{number}, since that is a little more efficient.
+ Major bug fixes:
+ * modify lib_tstp.c to block SIGTTOU when handling SIGTSTP, fixes a
+ problem where ncurses applications which were run via a shell
+ script would hang when given a ^Z. Also, check if the terminal's
+ process group is consistent, i.e., a shell has not taken ownership
+ of it, before deciding to save the current terminal settings in
+ the SIGTSTP handler.
+ * suppress sc/rc capabilities from terminal description if they
+ appear in smcup/rmcup. This affects only scrolling optimization,
+ to fix a problem reported by several people with xterm's alternate
+ screen, though the problem is more general.
+ * modify relative_move and tputs to avoid an interaction with the
+ BSD-style padding. The relative_move function could produce a
+ string to replace on the screen which began with a numeric
+ character, which was then interpreted by tputs as padding.
+ * modify setupterm so that cancelled strings are treated the same as
+ absent strings, cancelled and absent booleans false (does not
+ affect tic, infocmp).
+ * modify lib_vidattr.c to allow for terminal types (e.g.,
+ xterm-color) which may reset all attributes in the 'op'
+ capability, so that colors are set before turning on bold and
+ other attributes, but still after turning attributes off.
+ * use 'access()' to check if ncurses library should be permitted to
+ open or modify files with fopen/open/link/unlink/remove calls, in
+ case the calling application is running in setuid mode.
+ * correction to doupdate, for case where terminal does not support
+ insert/delete character. The logic did not check that there was a
+ difference in alignment of changes to old/new screens before
+ repainting the whole non-blank portion of the line. Modified to
+ fall through into logic that reduces by the portion which does not
+ differ.
+ Features of Ncurses
+ The ncurses package is fully compatible with SVr4 (System V Release 4)
+ curses:
+ * All 257 of the SVr4 calls have been implemented (and are
+ documented).
+ * 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 SVr4 curses, ncurses can write to the rightmost-bottommost
+ corner of the screen if your terminal has an insert-character
+ capability.
+ * 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
+ sets.
+ * 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
+ V.)
+ * 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
+ $HOME/.terminfo.
+ * 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
+ #undef.
+ * An HTML "Introduction to Programming with NCURSES" document
+ provides a narrative introduction to the curses programming
+ interface.
+ 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):
+ ded
+ directory-editor [3]ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ded.
+ dialog
+ the underlying application used in Slackware's setup, and the
+ basis for similar applications on GNU/Linux.
+ lynx-2.7
+ the character-screen WWW browser
+ Midnight Commander 4.1
+ file manager
+ mutt 0.88
+ mail utility
+ ncftp 2.0
+ file-transfer utility
+ nvi
+ New vi versions 1.50 are able to use ncurses versions 1.9.7 and
+ later.
+ taper
+ tape archive utility
+ vh-1.6
+ Volks-Hypertext browser for the Jargon File
+ as well as some that use ncurses for the terminfo support alone:
+ minicom-1.75
+ terminal emulator
+ tin-unoff
+ tin 1.4 newsreader, supporting color, MIME
+ [4]ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff.
+ vile
+ vi-like-emacs [5]ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/vile.
+ 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 [6]Zeyd Ben-Halim and [7]Eric
+ S. Raymond. Ongoing work is being done by [8]Thomas Dickey and
+ [9]Jürgen Pfeifer. [10]Florian La Roche acts as the maintainer for the
+ Free Software Foundation, which holds the copyright on ncurses.
+ Contact the current maintainers at [11]bug-ncurses@gnu.org.
+ To join the ncurses mailing list, please write email to
+ bug-ncurses-request@gnu.org 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 [12]ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses.
+Future Plans
+ * Extended-level XPG4 conformance, with internationalization
+ support.
+ * 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.
+ [13]http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo.
+ You can find lots of information on terminal-related topics not
+ covered in the terminfo file at [14]Richard Shuford's archive.
+ 1. ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu
+ 2. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses
+ 3. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ded
+ 4. ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff
+ 5. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/vile
+ 6. mailto:zmbenhal@netcom.com
+ 7. http://www.ccil.org/~esr/home.html
+ 8. mailto:dickey@clark.net
+ 9. mailto:juergen.pfeifer@gmx.net
+ 10. mailto:florian@gnu.org
+ 11. mailto:bug-ncurses@gnu.org
+ 12. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses
+ 13. http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo
+ 14. http://www.cs.utk.edu/~shuford/terminal_index.html