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<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//IETF//DTD HTML 3.0//EN">
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  $Id: announce.html.in,v 1.34 1999/10/23 20:52:29 tom Exp $
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<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Announcing ncurses @VERSION@</TITLE>
<link rev=made href="mailto:bug-ncurses@gnu.org">
</HEAD>
<BODY>

<H1>Announcing ncurses @VERSION@</H1>

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.<P>

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.<P>

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!<P>

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.<P>

The ncurses distribution is available via anonymous FTP at
the GNU distribution site
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/ncurses">ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/ncurses</A>.
It is also available at
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses">ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses</A>.

<H1>Release Notes</H1>

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.
<p>
Interface changes:
<ul>
	<li>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:
<ul>
	  <li>modified several prototypes to correspond with 1997 version of
	    X/Open Curses (affects ABI since developers have used attr_get).

	  <li>corrected prototypes for slk_* functions, using chtype rather than
	    attr_t.

	  <li>the slk_attr_{set,off,on} functions need an additional void*
	    parameter according to XSI.

	  <li>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.

	  <li>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.

	  <li>reviewed/corrected macros in curses.h as per XSI document.

	  <li>add set_a_attributes and set_pglen_inch to terminfo structure, as per
	    XSI and Solaris 2.5.
</ul>
	<li>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:
<ul>
	  <li>implement tparm %l format.

	  <li>implement tparm printf-style width and precision for %s, %d, %x, %o
	    as per XSI.
</ul>
	<li>We made additional changes to reduce impact by future interface
	  changes:
<ul>
	  <li>rename key_names[] array to _nc_key_names since it is not part of
	    the curses interface.

	  <li>move macro winch to a function, to hide details of struct ldat
</ul>
	<li>modify configure script to embed ABI in shared libraries for HP-UX
	  10.x (detailed request by Tim Mooney).

	<li>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).
</ul>
New features:
<ul>
	<li>enable sigwinch handler by default.

	<li>turn on hashmap scrolling code by default

	<li>improved support for termcap applications
<ul>
	  <li>modify tput to accept termcap names as an alternative to terminfo
	    names.

	  <li>provide support for termcap PC variable by copying it from terminfo
	    data and using it as the padding character in tputs.

	  <li>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.

	  <li>change name-comparisons in lib_termcap to compare no more than 2
	    characters.

	  <li>add configure option --enable-tcap-names, which essentially
	    allows users to define new capabilities as in termcap.
</ul>
	<li>add mouse support to ncurses menus.

	<li>add mouse and dll support for OS/2 EMX

	<li>modify terminfo parsing to accept octal and hexadecimal constants

	<li>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.

	<li>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.

	<li>add -f option to infocmp and tic, which formats the terminfo
	  if/then/else/endif so that they are readable (with newlines and
	  tabs).

	<li>modify tic to compile into %'char' form in preference to %{number},
	  since that is a little more efficient.
</ul>
Major bug fixes:
<ul>
	<li>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.

	<li>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.

	<li>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.

	<li>modify setupterm so that cancelled strings are treated the same as
	  absent strings, cancelled and absent booleans false (does not affect
	  tic, infocmp).

	<li>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.

	<li>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.

	<li>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.
</ul>

<H1>Features of Ncurses</H1>

The ncurses package is fully compatible with SVr4 (System V Release 4) curses:

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

The ncurses package also has many useful extensions over SVr4:

<UL>
<LI>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).
<LI>Unlike SVr3 curses, ncurses can write to the rightmost-bottommost corner
of the screen if your terminal has an insert-character capability.
<LI>Ada95 and C++ bindings.
<LI>Support for mouse event reporting with X Window xterm and OS/2 console windows.
<LI>Extended mouse support via Alessandro Rubini's gpm package.
<LI>The function <CODE>wresize()</CODE> allows you to resize windows, preserving
their data.
<LI>The function <CODE>use_default_colors()</CODE> allows you to
use the terminal's default colors for the default color pair,
achieving the effect of transparent colors.
<LI>The functions <CODE>keyok()</CODE>
and <CODE>define_key()</CODE> 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.
<LI>Support for 16-color terminals, such as aixterm and XFree86 xterm.
<LI>Better cursor-movement optimization.  The package now features a
cursor-local-movement computation more efficient than either BSD's
or System V's.
<LI>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.
<LI>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.
<LI>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).
<LI>The tic(1)/captoinfo utility provided with ncurses has the
ability to translate many termcaps from the XENIX, IBM and
AT&amp;T extension sets.
<LI>A BSD-like tset(1) utility is provided.
<LI>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.
<LI>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.)
<LI>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.
<LI>A script (<STRONG>capconvert</STRONG>) 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.
<LI>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.
<LI>The table-of-entries utility <STRONG>toe</STRONG> makes it easy for users to
see exactly what terminal types are available on the system.
<LI>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
<CODE>#undef</CODE>.
<LI>An HTML "Introduction to Programming with NCURSES" document provides
a narrative introduction to the curses programming interface.
</UL>

<H1>State of the Package</H1>

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.<P>

The ncurses code has been tested with a wide variety of applications
including (versions starting with those noted):
<DL>
<DT> cdk
<DD> Curses Development Kit
<A HREF="http://www.vexus.ca/CDK.html">Curses Development Kit</a>
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/cdk">ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/cdk</A>.
<DT> ded
<DD> directory-editor
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ded">ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ded</A>.
<DT> dialog
<DD> the underlying application used in Slackware's setup, and the basis
for similar applications on GNU/Linux.
<DT> lynx
<DD> the character-screen WWW browser
<DT> Midnight Commander 4.1
<DD> file manager
<DT> mutt
<DD> mail utility
<DT> ncftp
<DD> file-transfer utility
<DT> nvi
<DD> New vi versions 1.50 are able to use ncurses versions 1.9.7 and later.
<DT> tin
<DD> newsreader, supporting color, MIME
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff">ftp://ftp.akk.uni-karlsruhe.de/pub/news/clients/tin-unoff</A>.
<DT> taper
<DD> tape archive utility
<DT> vh-1.6
<DD> Volks-Hypertext browser for the Jargon File
</DL>
as well as some that use ncurses for the terminfo support alone:
<DL>
<DT> minicom
<DD> terminal emulator
<DT> vile
<DD> vi-like-emacs
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/vile">ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/vile</A>.
</DL>
<P>

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

<H2>Who's Who and What's What</H2>

The original developers of ncurses are <A
HREF="mailto:zmbenhal@netcom.com">Zeyd Ben-Halim</A> and
<A HREF="http://www.ccil.org/~esr/home.html">Eric S. Raymond</A>.
Ongoing work is being done by
<A HREF="mailto:dickey@clark.net">Thomas Dickey</A>
and
<A HREF="mailto:juergen.pfeifer@gmx.net">J&uuml;rgen Pfeifer</A>.
<A HREF="mailto:dickey@clark.net">Thomas Dickey</A>
acts as the maintainer for the Free Software Foundation, which holds the
copyright on ncurses.
Contact the current maintainers at
<A HREF="mailto:bug-ncurses@gnu.org">bug-ncurses@gnu.org</A>.
<P>

To join the ncurses mailing list, please write email to
<CODE>bug-ncurses-request@gnu.org</CODE> containing the line:
<PRE>
             subscribe &lt;name&gt;@&lt;host.domain&gt;
</PRE>

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

Beta versions of ncurses and patches to the current release are made available at
<A HREF="ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses">ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/dickey/ncurses</A>.

<H2>Future Plans</H2>
<UL>
<LI>Extended-level XPG4 conformance, with internationalization support.
<LI>Ports to more systems, including DOS and Windows.
</UL>
We need people to help with these projects.  If you are interested in working
on them, please join the ncurses list.

<H2>Other Related Resources</H2>

The distribution includes and uses a version of the terminfo-format
terminal description file maintained by Eric Raymond.
<A HREF="http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo">http://earthspace.net/~esr/terminfo</A>.<P>

You can find lots of information on terminal-related topics
not covered in the terminfo file at
<A HREF="http://www.cs.utk.edu/~shuford/terminal_index.html">Richard Shuford's
archive</A>.
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