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1. Useful programs

The following packages contain keyboard or console related programs.

kbd-1.06.tar.gz contains loadkeys, dumpkeys, showkey, setmetamode, setleds, setfont, showconsolefont, mapscrn, kbd_mode, kbdrate, loadunimap, chvt, resizecons, deallocvt, getkeycodes, setkeycodes. It also contains openvt, formerly called open.

There exists a clone of the kbd package, namely console-tools, that contains more or less the same stuff. The latest version, console-tools-0.3.3 is roughly up-to-date with kbd-0.99.

SVGATextMode-1.10 contains SVGATextMode, a program that obsoletes resizecons.

util-linux-2.11 contains setterm.

sh-utils-1.12 contains stty.

See also dynamic-vc-1.2.tar.gz and consd-1.3.tgz for programs that exploit the `Keyboard Signal' key. Very primitive versions are spawn_login or spawn_console found in the kbd package.

See font.tgz for a package that handles console fonts.

Packages like recode and konwert-1.8 allow one to convert between different character encodings.

The X distribution contains xmodmap, xset, kbd_mode. (See also X386keybd(1) for the situation under XFree86 1.3, and Xserver(1) for the XKEYBOARD extension under X11R6.) A handy interface to xmodmap is xkeycaps, see

termcap-2.0.8.tar.gz contains termcap, an old terminal capabilities data base. ncurses-1.9.9e.tar.gz contains the termlib data base which obsoletes termcap. (However, there are still many programs using termcap.)

See loadkeys(1), setleds(1) and setmetamode(1) for the codes generated by the various keys and the setting of leds when not under X. Under X, see xmodmap(1) and xset(1).

See setfont(8) for loading console fonts. Many people will want to load a font like iso01.f16 because the default font is the hardware font of the video card, and often is a `Code Page 437' font missing accented characters and other Latin-1 symbols.

See setterm(1) and kbdrate(8) for properties such as foreground and background colors, screen blanking and character repeat rate when not under X. Under X, see xset(1), also for key click and bell volume.

The file /etc/termcap defines the escape sequences used by many programs addressing the console (or any other terminal). See termcap(5). A more modern version is found in /usr/lib/terminfo. See terminfo(5). Terminfo files are compiled by the terminfo compiler /usr/lib/terminfo/tic, see tic(1). Their contents can be examined using the program infocmp, see infocmp(1).

The Linux console sequences are documented in console_codes(4).

The package funkey by Rick van Rein provides support for all these new keys modern keyboards have. See

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