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.