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Re: Problem with readline or ncurses

From: Thomas Dickey
Subject: Re: Problem with readline or ncurses
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2007 17:24:58 -0400 (EDT)

On Fri, 13 Apr 2007, Fredrik Tolf wrote:


I started having problems with readline after a recent update of
ncurses, and currently I am very unsure if the problem is with readline
or with ncurses, so I' sending this mail to both.

I noticed that my xterms suddenly didn't want to send Alt/Meta key
combinations as Esc+button anymore, but with the 8th bit set, which I've
always thought sucks (it doesn't exactly work very well when typing
8-bit characters).

At first, I thought the fault was with xterm, but after some debugging,
it seems that it is readline which always sends the terminfo "mm" string
whenever the "km" capability is present. The fault started appearing
since the latest ncurses update contained a new xterm terminfo file
which has the mm and mo strings (the old one didn't, it seems).

mm/mo are termcap
smm/rmm are terminfo

yes, I noticed relatively recently that this feature also would apply
to xterm, though it's implemented it for a while.  I also reviewed and
discarded data for some terminals that always send ESC+character for
the meta key.

However, I'm not sure just how to interpret the "km" capability.
According to the terminfo(5) manpage, it seems it only applies to
terminals that have a Meta key that sets the 8th bit, but then it is
kind of unclear whether it should be present in xterm, since that is
configurable in xterm. I also got the feeling that "km" is used more
generically than that, to rather indicate the presence of a Meta key,
regardless of whether it sends escape combinations or 8-bit characters,
and in that case, I would think it is a fault with readline for always
sending "mm" when "km" is present.

oh... (I hadn't considered that to be a problem).

So how is it, really? Should terminfo be fixed, should readline be
fixed, or should I just locally patch my terminfo since I configure my
xterms to use escape combinations? (Then again, if I don't do that, how
am I supposed to get UTF-8 input working in xterm?)

Fredrik Tolf

At the moment, yet another flavor of terminfo sounds like the way to go.

Thomas E. Dickey

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