While termcap and terminfo are no longer as important as they once were, due to the growth of the X terminal market and increased standardization among ASCII terminals, handling different terminal types can still be a headache for system administrators. The termcap and terminfo databases are UNIX's solution to the difficulty of supporting many terminals without writing special drivers for each terminal. Termcap (BSD) and terminfo (System V) describe the features of hundreds of terminals, together with a library of routines that allow programs to use those capabilities.
This book documents hundreds of capabilities and syntax for termcap and terminfo, writing and debugging terminal descriptions, and terminal initialization.
Terminal independence: the need for termcap and terminfo.
Linda Mui started working for O'Reilly & Associates in 1986. She was first hired as a production assistant, later became an apprentice system administrator, and now is a writer. Her first writing job was for termcap and terminfo, which she co-authored with John Strang and Tim O'Reilly. She also wrote Pick BASIC, on programming applications for Pick systems. In between writing jobs, Linda works on troff macros and tools for the O'Reilly & Associates production staff. Linda was raised in the Bronx, New York and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lately she has been trying to improve herself by learning how to swim, play billiards, and accessorize.
Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly & Associates, thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world. O'Reilly also publishes online through the O'Reilly Network (www.oreillynet.com) and hosts conferences on technology topics. Tim is an activist for open source and open standards, and an opponent of software patents and other incursions of new intellectual property laws into the public domain. Tim's long term vision for his company is to help change the world by capturing and transmitting the knowledge of innovators.
John Strang now finds himself "a consumer--rather than a producer of Nutshells." He is currently a diagnostic radiologist (MD) at Stanford University. He is married to a pediatrician, Susie, and they have two children, Katie and Alex. John enjoys hiking, bicycling, and dabbling in other sciences. He plans to use his experience as an author at ORA to write his own book on radiology.
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing personality and life into potentially dry subjects. The animal featured on the cover of termcap & terminfo is a great black cockatoo. This large crested parrot is native to Australia and islands in the Malayan Archipelago. Largest of all the parrots, the great black cockatoo can grow up to 32 inches in height. It has bluish-black plumage with bare, pink cheeks that redden when it becomes excited. As a cockatoo, it is distinguished from other parrots in its ability to raise the feathers of its crest. UNIX and its attendant programs can be unruly beasts. Nutshell Handbooks(R) help you tame them.
Edie Freedman designed this cover and the entire UNIX bestiary that appears on other Nutshell Handbooks. The beasts themselves are adapted from 19th-century engravings from the Dover Pictorial Archive.
The text of this book is set in Times Roman; headings are Helvetica; examples are Courier. Text was prepared using SoftQuadUs sqtroff text formatter. Figures are produced with a Macintosh. Printing is done on an Apple LaserWriter.