/etc/termcap is a text file that lists the
capabilities. Several applications use the
termcap information to move the cursor around the screen and do other screen-oriented tasks.
vi and all the
curses-based applications use the
The database describes several terminal types. The
TERM environment variable selects the right behaviour at run-time, by naming a
termcap entry to be used by applications.
Within the database, each capability of the terminal appears as a two-letter code and a representation of the actual escape sequence used to get the desired effect. The separator character between different capabilities is the colon (":"). As an example, the audible bell, with code "bl", usually appears as "
bl=^G". This sequence tells that the bell sound is obtained by printing the control-G character, the ASCII BEL.
In addition to the
bl capability, the
vb capability is recognized. It is used to represent the "visible bell".
vb is usually missing in the
linux entry of the
Most modern applications and libraries use the
terminfo database instead of
termcap. This database uses one file per terminal-type and lives in
/usr/lib/terminfo; to avoid using huge directories, the description of each terminal type is stored in a directory named after its first letter; the
linux entry, therefore, is
/usr/lib/terminfo/l/linux. To build a
terminfo entry you'll ``compile'' the
termcap description; refer to the
tic program and its manual page.