why --disable-termcap ?

Don Smith midio at att.net
Tue Mar 26 12:51:36 PST 2002


"Gerard Beekmans" <gerard at linuxfromscratch.org> wrote in message
news:20020326063902.GD14754 at gwaihir.linuxfromscratch.org...
> On Mon, Mar 25, 2002 at 09:00:23PM -0500, timothy bauscher wrote:
> > Before i compile ncurses, i'd like to know what
> > termcap does [or doesn't do] that makes the book
> > suggest to --disable-termcap.
>
> termcap is an old library that's being phased out. Ncurses is a modern
> termcap. It does the same, just newer.
>
> We disable termcap because we don't want to use the obsolete code from
> seemingly eons ago (well not quite that long, but it might as well
be).

Yes it was that long ago. I was there.

>
> There's some info on this in the ncurses documentation somewhere (I'm
not
> sure where, start with the README and INSTALL files).
>

Brief synopsis:

termcap is terminal capabilities. Eons ago there were a multitude of
terminal manufacturers, each with its own definition of terminal control
sequences (or escape sequences because they usually start with the
escape character). These sequences would control the features of the
terminal like highlighting text, clearing the screen, blinking cursors,
etc. termcap was actually a huge text file with a definition of each of
these features for each and every make/model of terminal there was.

Hardly anyone has these old terminals anymore (unless they're a
collector) so the need for esoteric terminal definitions is pretty much
gone and therefore termcap can go to. I don't know for sure but I would
guess that ncurses knows about the few common terminal emulations that
survive like ANSI and the DEC VT series as well as xterm, and so doen't
need termcap either.

Don


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