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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/ncurses. 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:
          + rename key_names[] array to _nc_key_names 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 SVr3 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):
   
   cdk
          Curses Development Kit [3]Curses Development Kit
          [4]ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/cdk.
          
   ded
          directory-editor [5]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
          the character-screen WWW browser
          
   Midnight Commander 4.1
          file manager
          
   mutt
          mail utility
          
   ncftp
          file-transfer utility
          
   nvi
          New vi versions 1.50 are able to use ncurses versions 1.9.7 and
          later.
          
   tin
          newsreader, supporting color, MIME
          [6]ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff.
          
   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
          terminal emulator
          
   vile
          vi-like-emacs [7]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 [8]Zeyd Ben-Halim and [9]Eric
   S. Raymond. Ongoing work is being done by [10]Thomas Dickey and
   [11]Jrgen Pfeifer. [12]Thomas Dickey acts as the maintainer for the
   Free Software Foundation, which holds the copyright on ncurses.
   Contact the current maintainers at [13]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 [14]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.
   [15]http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo.
   
   You can find lots of information on terminal-related topics not
   covered in the terminfo file at [16]Richard Shuford's archive.

References

   1. ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/ncurses
   2. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses
   3. http://www.vexus.ca/CDK.html
   4. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/cdk
   5. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ded
   6. ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff
   7. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/vile
   8. mailto:zmbenhal@netcom.com
   9. http://www.ccil.org/~esr/home.html
  10. mailto:dickey@clark.net
  11. mailto:juergen.pfeifer@gmx.net
  12. mailto:dickey@clark.net
  13. mailto:bug-ncurses@gnu.org
  14. ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses
  15. http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo
  16. http://www.cs.utk.edu/~shuford/terminal_index.html