[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


From: Thomas Dickey
Subject: ncurses-5.7
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2008 18:54:04 -0500
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.18 (2008-05-17)

  Announcing ncurses 5.7

   [1][image of the Head of a GNU]-[2][IMAGE]

   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.

   The  ncurses code was developed under GNU/Linux. It has been in use for
   some time with OpenBSD as the system curses library, and on FreeBSD and
   NetBSD   as   an  external  package.  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, a decompiler infocmp, clear, tput, tset, and a
   termcap  conversion  tool captoinfo. Full manual pages are provided for
   the library and tools.

   The  Ncurses  distribution  is  available  via anonymous FTP at the GNU
   distribution site [3] .
   It is also available at [4] .

                                 Release Notes

   This  release  is  designed  to  be  upward compatible from ncurses 5.0
   through   5.6;   very  few  applications  will  require  recompilation,
   depending on the platform. These are the highlights from the change-log
   since ncurses 5.6 release.

   Interface changes:
     * generate linkable stubs for some macros:

   New features and improvements:
     * library
          + new flavor of the ncurses library provides rudimentary support
            for  POSIX  threads. Several functions are reentrant, but most
            require either a window-level or screen-level mutex.
            (This  is  API-compatible, but not ABI-compatible with the
            normal library).
          + add  NCURSES_OPAQUE  symbol  to  curses.h,  will  use  to make
            structs opaque in selected configurations.
          + add   NCURSES_EXT_FUNCS   and  NCURSES_EXT_COLORS  symbols  to
            curses.h  to make it simpler to tell if the extended functions
            and/or colors are declared.
          + add wresize() to C++ binding
          + eliminate fixed-buffer vsprintf() calls in C++ binding.
          + add  several  functions  to C++ binding which wrap C functions
            that pass a WINDOW* parameter.
          + adapt mouse-handling code from menu library in form-library
          + improve  tracing  for  form  library,  showing  created forms,
            fields, etc.
          + make $NCURSES_NO_PADDING feature work for termcap interface .
          + add  check  to  trace-file  open,  if  the  given  name  is  a
            directory, add ".log" to the name and try again.
          + several   new   manpages:   curs_legacy.3x,  curs_memleaks.3x,
            curs_opaque.3x and curs_threads.3x
     * programs:
          + modified  three  test-programs  to  demonstrate  the threading
            support in this version: ditto, rain, worm.
          + several new test-programs: demo_panels, dots_mvcur, inch_wide,
            inchs,    key_name,   key_names,   savescreen,
            test_arrays,     test_get_wstr,    test_getstr,    test_instr,
            test_inwstr and test_opaque.
          + add adacurses-config to the Ada95 install.
          + modify  tic  -f  option to format spaces as \s to prevent them
            from being lost when that is read back in unformatted strings.
          + The tack program is now distributed separately from ncurses.
     * terminal database
          + added entries:
               o Eterm-256color, Eterm-88color and rxvt-88color
               o aterm
               o konsole-256color
               o mrxvt
               o screen.mlterm
               o screen.rxvt
               o teraterm4.59  is  now the primary primary teraterm entry,
                 renamed original to teraterm2.3
               o 9term terminal
               o Newbury Data entries
          + updated/improved entries:
               o gnome to version 2.22.3
               o h19, z100
               o konsole to version 1.6.6
               o mlterm, mlterm+pcfkeys
               o xterm, and building-blocks for function-keys to [5]xterm
                 patch #230.

   Major bug fixes:
     * add   logic   to   tic   for  cancelling  strings  in  user-defined
       capabilities (this is needed for current konsole terminfo entry).
     * modify  mk-1st.awk  so  the generated makefile rules for linking or
       installing  shared  libraries  do  not first remove the library, in
       case it is in use, e.g., by /bin/sh.
     * correct check for notimeout() in wgetch().
     * fix a sign-extension bug in infocmp's repair_acsc() function.
     * change winnstr() to stop at the end of the line.
     * make Ada95 demo_panels() example work.
     * fix for adding a non-spacing character at the beginning of a line.
     * fill in extended-color pair to make colors work for wide-characters
       using extended-colors.
     * improve refresh of window on top of multi-column characters, taking
       into account split characters on left/right window boundaries.
     * modify  win_wchnstr()  to  ensure that only a base cell is returned
       for each multi-column character.
     * improve  waddch() and winsch() handling of EILSEQ from mbrtowc() by
       using  unctrl()  to  display  illegal  bytes  rather than trying to
       append further bytes to make up a valid sequence.
     * restore curs_set() state after endwin()/refresh()
     * modify  keyname()  to use "^X" form only if meta() has been called,
       or  if  keyname()  is called without initializing curses, e.g., via
       initscr() or newterm().
     * modify  unctrl()  to check codes in 128-255 range versus isprint().
       If  they  are  not printable, and locale was set, use a "M-" or "~"
     * improve resizeterm() by moving ripped-off lines, and repainting the
     * modify form library to accept control characters such as newline in
       set_field_buffer(), which is compatible with Solaris.
     * use  NCURSES_MOUSE_MASK()  in definition of BUTTON_RELEASE(), etc.,
       to   make   those   work   properly   with  the  --enable-ext-mouse
     * correct  some  functions  in  Ada95 binding which were using return
       value from C where none was returned.
     * reviewed/fixed issues reported by Coverity and Klocwork tools.

     * configure script:
          + new options:

                      control  whether  static string tables are generated
                      as   single   large   strings  (to  improve  startup
                      performance), or as array of individual strings.

                      control   whether   shared  libraries  are  relinked
                      (during install) when rpath is enabled.

                      make   explicit   whether  tic  library  depends  on
                      ncurses/ncursesw library.

                      override   the   configure  script's  check  if  the
                      filesystem   supports   mixed-case  filenames.  This
                      allows one to control how the terminal database maps
                      to  the  filesystem.  For  filesystems  that  do not
                      support   mixed-case,   the  library  uses  generate
                      2-character  (hexadecimal) codes for the lower-level
                      of the filesystem terminfo database

                      builds  a  different  flavor  of the ncurses library
                      (ncursest)  which  improves  reentrant  use  of  the
                      library by reducing global and static variables (see
                      the   "--with-pthread"   option   for  the  threaded

                      use  weak-symbols  for  linking  to the POSIX thread
                      library,  and  use  the  same soname for the ncurses
                      shared  library  as  the normal library (caveat: the
                      ABI  is for the threaded library, which makes global
                      data accessed via functions).

                      build  with  the  POSIX  thread library (tested with
                      AIX,  GNU/Linux,  FreeBSD,  OpenBSD,  HPUX,  IRIX64,
                      Solaris, Tru64).

                      build/install   the   tic-support   functions  in  a
                      separate library

          + improved options:

                      requires the wide-character configuration.

                      ignore  option  value  "unsigned" is always added to
                      the    type   in   curses.h;   do   the   same   for

                      build-fix for redefinition of strndup.


                    # accepts a parameter which is the install-prefix of a
                      given Berkeley Database.
                    # the  $LIBS environment variable overrides the search
                      for the db library.

                      assumed when "--disable-database" is used.

     * other configure/build issues:
          + build-fixes for LynxOS
          + modify shared-library rules to allow FreeBSD 3.x to use rpath.
          + build-fix for FreeBSD "contemporary" TTY interface.
          + build-fixes for AIX with libtool.
          + build-fixes for Darwin and libtool.
          + modify BeOS-specific ifdef's to build on Haiku.
          + corrected gcc options for building shared libraries on Solaris
            and IRIX64.
          + change  shared-library  configuration  for OpenBSD, make rpath
          + build-fixes for using libutf8, e.g., on OpenBSD 3.7
          + add   "-e"   option  in  ncurses/  when  generating
            source-files  to  force  earlier exit if the build environment
            fails unexpectedly.
          + add support for shared libraries for QNX.
          + change  delimiter  in  from '%' to '@', to avoid
            substitution  by  IBM  xlc to '#' as part of its extensions to
     * library:
          + rewrite wrapper for wcrtomb(), making it work on Solaris. This
            is  used  in  the  form library to determine the length of the
            buffer needed by field_buffer.
          + add/use   configure  script  macro  CF_SIG_ATOMIC_T,  use  the
            corresponding type for data manipulated by signal handlers.
          + set locale in misc/ since it uses a range
          + disable  GPM  mouse  support  when  $TERM  does  not happen to
            contain   "linux",  since  Gpm_Open()  no  longer  limits  its
            assertion  to  terminals  that  it  might handle, e.g., within
            "screen" in xterm.
          + reset mouse file-descriptor when unloading GPM library.
     * test programs:
          + update  test  programs  to build/work with various UNIX curses
            for comparisons.

                              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 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,  and  most  EXTENDED  features).  It includes 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 FreeBSD
       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
     * Support  for  256-color  terminals,  such  as  modern  xterm,  when
       configured using the --enable-ext-colors option.
     * Support for 16-color terminals, such as aixterm and modern 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/captoinfo utility provided with Ncurses has the ability to
       translate  many  termcaps  from  the  XENIX, IBM and AT&T extension
     * A BSD-like tset 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
     * 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

                              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
          file manager

          mail utility

          file-transfer utility

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

          Lynx-like info browser.

          newsreader, supporting color, MIME [16]

   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

   Zeyd  Ben-Halim  started it from a previous package pcurses, written by
   Pavel  Curtis.  Eric  S.  Raymond continued development. Jürgen Pfeifer
   wrote  most  of the form and menu libraries. Ongoing work is being done
   by [19]Thomas Dickey. Thomas Dickey acts as the maintainer for the Free
   Software  Foundation, which holds the copyright on ncurses. Contact the
   current maintainers at address@hidden

   To   join   the   Ncurses   mailing   list,   please   write  email  to
   address@hidden 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 [21] .

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  provides  a  newer  version  of  the terminfo-format
   terminal description file once maintained by [22]Eric Raymond . Unlike
   the  older  version,  the termcap and terminfo data are provided in the
   same  file,  and  provides several user-definable extensions beyond the
   X/Open specification.

   You can find lots of information on terminal-related topics not covered
   in the terminfo file at [23]Richard Shuford's archive .

   Return to [24]GNU's home page.

   Please send FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to address@hidden There
   are also [26]other ways to contact the FSF.

   Please send comments on these web pages to address@hidden,
   send other questions to address@hidden

   Copyright  ©  1998,2000,2004,2005,2006,2008  Free  Software Foundation,
   Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA

   Verbatim  copying  and distribution of this entire article is permitted
   in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.

   Updated: $Date: 2008/11/03 23:50:31 $ $Author: dickey $


   1. file://localhost/graphics/agnuhead.html
   2. file://localhost/graphics/gnu-head-sm.jpg
  19. mailto:address@hidden
  20. mailto:address@hidden
  24. file://localhost/home.html
  25. mailto:address@hidden
  27. mailto:address@hidden
  28. mailto:address@hidden

Thomas E. Dickey <address@hidden>

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: Digital signature

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]