ANNOUNCE   [plain text]

                            Announcing ncurses 5.7

   The  ncurses  (new  curses)  library  is  a free software emulation of
   curses  in  System  V  Release 4.0, and more. It uses terminfo format,
   supports  pads  and color and multiple highlights and forms characters
   and   function-key   mapping,   and  has  all  the  other  SYSV-curses
   enhancements over BSD curses.

   In  mid-June  1995,  the  maintainer of 4.4BSD curses declared that he
   considered  4.4BSD curses obsolete, and encouraged the keepers of Unix
   releases such as BSD/OS, FreeBSD and NetBSD to switch over to ncurses.

   The ncurses code was developed under GNU/Linux. It has been in use for
   some  time  with  OpenBSD as the system curses library, and on FreeBSD
   and  NetBSD  as  an  external  package.  It  should port easily to any
   ANSI/POSIX-conforming UNIX. It has even been ported to OS/2 Warp!

   The distribution includes the library and support utilities, including
   a   terminfo  compiler  tic(1),  a  decompiler  infocmp(1),  clear(1),
   tput(1),  tset(1),  and  a  termcap conversion tool captoinfo(1). Full
   manual pages are provided for the library and tools.

   The  ncurses  distribution  is  available via anonymous FTP at the GNU
   distribution site [1] .
   It is also available at [2] .

                                 Release Notes

   This  release  is  designed  to  be upward compatible from ncurses 5.0
   through   5.6;  very  few  applications  will  require  recompilation,
   depending   on  the  platform.  These  are  the  highlights  from  the
   change-log since ncurses 5.6 release.

   Interface changes:
     * generate linkable stubs for some macros:

   New features and improvements:
     * library
          + new  flavor  of  the  ncurses  library  provides  rudimentary
            support  for  POSIX threads. Several functions are reentrant,
            but most require either a window-level or screen-level mutex.
            (This  is  API-compatible,  but  not  ABI-compatible with the
            normal library).
          + add  NCURSES_OPAQUE  symbol  to  curses.h,  will  use to make
            structs opaque in selected configurations.
          + add   NCURSES_EXT_FUNCS  and  NCURSES_EXT_COLORS  symbols  to
            curses.h to make it simpler to tell if the extended functions
            and/or colors are declared.
          + add wresize() to C++ binding
          + eliminate fixed-buffer vsprintf() calls in C++ binding.
          + add  several  functions to C++ binding which wrap C functions
            that pass a WINDOW* parameter.
          + adapt mouse-handling code from menu library in form-library
          + improve  tracing  for  form  library,  showing created forms,
            fields, etc.
          + make $NCURSES_NO_PADDING feature work for termcap interface .
          + add  check  to  trace-file  open,  if  the  given  name  is a
            directory, add ".log" to the name and try again.
          + several   new   manpages:  curs_legacy.3x,  curs_memleaks.3x,
            curs_opaque.3x and curs_threads.3x
     * programs:
          + modified  three  test-programs  to  demonstrate the threading
            support in this version: ditto, rain, worm.
          + several    new    test-programs:   demo_panels,   dots_mvcur,
            inch_wide,    inchs,    key_name,    key_names,   savescreen,
      test_arrays,   test_get_wstr,   test_getstr,
            test_instr, test_inwstr and test_opaque.
          + add adacurses-config to the Ada95 install.
          + modify  tic  -f option to format spaces as \s to prevent them
            from  being  lost  when  that  is  read  back  in unformatted
          + The tack program is now distributed separately from ncurses.
     * terminal database
          + added entries:
               o Eterm-256color, Eterm-88color and rxvt-88color
               o aterm
               o konsole-256color
               o mrxvt
               o screen.mlterm
               o screen.rxvt
               o teraterm4.59  is now the primary primary teraterm entry,
                 renamed original to teraterm2.3
               o 9term terminal
               o Newbury Data entries
          + updated/improved entries:
               o gnome to version 2.22.3
               o h19, z100
               o konsole to version 1.6.6
               o mlterm, mlterm+pcfkeys
               o xterm, and building-blocks for function-keys to [3]xterm
                 patch #230.

   Major bug fixes:
     * add   logic   to   tic  for  cancelling  strings  in  user-defined
       capabilities (this is needed for current konsole terminfo entry).
     * modify  mk-1st.awk  so the generated makefile rules for linking or
       installing  shared  libraries  do not first remove the library, in
       case it is in use, e.g., by /bin/sh.
     * correct check for notimeout() in wgetch().
     * fix a sign-extension bug in infocmp's repair_acsc() function.
     * change winnstr() to stop at the end of the line.
     * make Ada95 demo_panels() example work.
     * fix for adding a non-spacing character at the beginning of a line.
     * fill   in   extended-color   pair   to   make   colors   work  for
       wide-characters using extended-colors.
     * improve  refresh  of  window  on  top  of multi-column characters,
       taking   into   account  split  characters  on  left/right  window
     * modify  win_wchnstr()  to ensure that only a base cell is returned
       for each multi-column character.
     * improve waddch() and winsch() handling of EILSEQ from mbrtowc() by
       using  unctrl()  to  display  illegal  bytes rather than trying to
       append further bytes to make up a valid sequence.
     * restore curs_set() state after endwin()/refresh()
     * modify  keyname() to use "^X" form only if meta() has been called,
       or  if  keyname() is called without initializing curses, e.g., via
       initscr() or newterm().
     * modify  unctrl() to check codes in 128-255 range versus isprint().
       If  they  are not printable, and locale was set, use a "M-" or "~"
     * improve  resizeterm()  by  moving ripped-off lines, and repainting
       the soft-keys.
     * modify  form  library to accept control characters such as newline
       in set_field_buffer(), which is compatible with Solaris.
     * use  NCURSES_MOUSE_MASK() in definition of BUTTON_RELEASE(), etc.,
       to   make   those   work   properly  with  the  --enable-ext-mouse
     * correct  some  functions  in Ada95 binding which were using return
       value from C where none was returned.
     * reviewed/fixed issues reported by Coverity and Klocwork tools.

     * configure script:
          + new options:

                      control  whether static string tables are generated
                      as   single   large  strings  (to  improve  startup
                      performance), or as array of individual strings.

                      control   whether  shared  libraries  are  relinked
                      (during install) when rpath is enabled.

                      make   explicit  whether  tic  library  depends  on
                      ncurses/ncursesw library.

                      override   the  configure  script's  check  if  the
                      filesystem   supports  mixed-case  filenames.  This
                      allows  one  to  control  how the terminal database
                      maps to the filesystem. For filesystems that do not
                      support   mixed-case,  the  library  uses  generate
                      2-character (hexadecimal) codes for the lower-level
                      of the filesystem terminfo database

                      builds  a  different  flavor of the ncurses library
                      (ncursest)  which  improves  reentrant  use  of the
                      library  by  reducing  global  and static variables
                      (see  the  "--with-pthread" option for the threaded

                      use  weak-symbols  for  linking to the POSIX thread
                      library,  and  use  the same soname for the ncurses
                      shared  library  as the normal library (caveat: the
                      ABI is for the threaded library, which makes global
                      data accessed via functions).

                      build  with  the  POSIX thread library (tested with
                      AIX,   Linux,   FreeBSD,   OpenBSD,  HPUX,  IRIX64,
                      Solaris, Tru64).

                      build/install   the   tic-support  functions  in  a
                      separate library

          + improved options:

                      requires the wide-character configuration.

                      ignore  option  value "unsigned" is always added to
                      the   type   in   curses.h;   do   the   same   for

                      build-fix for redefinition of strndup.

                      accepts  a parameter which is the install-prefix of
                      a given Berkeley Database.

                      the $LIBS environment variable overrides the search
                      for the db library.

                      assumed when "--disable-database" is used.

     * other configure/build issues:
          + build-fixes for LynxOS
          + modify  shared-library  rules  to  allow  FreeBSD  3.x to use
          + build-fix for FreeBSD "contemporary" TTY interface.
          + build-fixes for AIX with libtool.
          + build-fixes for Darwin and libtool.
          + modify BeOS-specific ifdef's to build on Haiku.
          + corrected  gcc  options  for  building  shared  libraries  on
            Solaris and IRIX64.
          + change  shared-library  configuration for OpenBSD, make rpath
          + build-fixes for using libutf8, e.g., on OpenBSD 3.7
          + add   "-e"  option  in  ncurses/  when  generating
            source-files  to  force earlier exit if the build environment
            fails unexpectedly.
          + add support for shared libraries for QNX.
          + change  delimiter  in from '%' to '@', to avoid
            substitution  by  IBM xlc to '#' as part of its extensions to
     * library:
          + rewrite  wrapper  for  wcrtomb(),  making it work on Solaris.
            This  is  used in the form library to determine the length of
            the buffer needed by field_buffer.
          + add/use  configure  script  macro  CF_SIG_ATOMIC_T,  use  the
            corresponding type for data manipulated by signal handlers.
          + set locale in misc/ since it uses a range
          + disable  GPM  mouse  support  when  $TERM  does not happen to
            contain  "linux",  since  Gpm_Open()  no  longer  limits  its
            assertion  to  terminals  that  it might handle, e.g., within
            "screen" in xterm.
          + reset mouse file-descriptor when unloading GPM library.
     * test programs:
          + update  test  programs to build/work with various UNIX curses
            for comparisons.

                              Features of Ncurses

   The ncurses package is fully compatible with SVr4 (System V Release 4)
     * All  257  of  the  SVr4  calls  have  been  implemented  (and  are
     * Full  support for SVr4 curses features including keyboard mapping,
       color,   forms-drawing   with   ACS   characters,   and  automatic
       recognition of keypad and function keys.
     * An  emulation  of  the  SVr4 panels library, supporting a stack of
       windows with backing store, is included.
     * An  emulation  of the SVr4 menus library, supporting a uniform but
       flexible interface for menu programming, is included.
     * An  emulation of the SVr4 form library, supporting data collection
       through on-screen forms, is included.
     * Binary   terminfo   entries   generated   by  the  ncurses  tic(1)
       implementation  are  bit-for-bit-compatible  with the entry format
       SVr4 curses uses.
     * The utilities have options to allow you to filter terminfo entries
       for  use  with  less  capable curses/terminfo versions such as the
       HP/UX and AIX ports.

   The ncurses package also has many useful extensions over SVr4:
     * The  API  is 8-bit clean and base-level conformant with the X/OPEN
       curses  specification, XSI curses (that is, it implements all BASE
       level  features,  and  most  EXTENDED  features). It includes many
       function calls not supported under SVr4 curses (but portability of
       all calls is documented so you can use the SVr4 subset only).
     * Unlike  SVr3 curses, ncurses can write to the rightmost-bottommost
       corner  of  the  screen  if  your terminal has an insert-character
     * Ada95 and C++ bindings.
     * Support  for mouse event reporting with X Window xterm and FreeBSD
       and OS/2 console windows.
     * Extended mouse support via Alessandro Rubini's gpm package.
     * The  function  wresize()  allows you to resize windows, preserving
       their data.
     * The function use_default_colors() allows you to use the terminal's
       default colors for the default color pair, achieving the effect of
       transparent colors.
     * The functions keyok() and define_key() allow you to better control
       the  use  of function keys, e.g., disabling the ncurses KEY_MOUSE,
       or  by  defining  more than one control sequence to map to a given
       key code.
     * Support  for  256-color  terminals,  such  as  modern  xterm, when
       configured using the --enable-ext-colors option.
     * Support for 16-color terminals, such as aixterm and modern xterm.
     * Better  cursor-movement  optimization.  The package now features a
       cursor-local-movement computation more efficient than either BSD's
       or System V's.
     * Super   hardware   scrolling   support.   The  screen-update  code
       incorporates  a novel, simple, and cheap algorithm that enables it
       to  make  optimal  use  of hardware scrolling, line-insertion, and
       line-deletion  for  screen-line  movements. This algorithm is more
       powerful than the 4.4BSD curses quickch() routine.
     * Real  support  for  terminals  with  the  magic-cookie glitch. The
       screen-update  code  will  refrain from drawing a highlight if the
       magic-   cookie  unattributed  spaces  required  just  before  the
       beginning  and  after the end would step on a non-space character.
       It  will  automatically  shift  highlight boundaries when doing so
       would  make it possible to draw the highlight without changing the
       visual appearance of the screen.
     * It  is  possible to generate the library with a list of pre-loaded
       fallback  entries linked to it so that it can serve those terminal
       types  even  when  no  terminfo tree or termcap file is accessible
       (this  may  be useful for support of screen-oriented programs that
       must run in single-user mode).
     * The tic(1)/captoinfo utility provided with ncurses has the ability
       to  translate many termcaps from the XENIX, IBM and AT&T extension
     * A BSD-like tset(1) utility is provided.
     * The ncurses library and utilities will automatically read terminfo
       entries  from  $HOME/.terminfo  if  it exists, and compile to that
       directory  if  it  exists  and the user has no write access to the
       system  directory.  This feature makes it easier for users to have
       personal  terminfo  entries without giving up access to the system
       terminfo directory.
     * You  may  specify  a  path  of  directories to search for compiled
       descriptions  with  the  environment  variable TERMINFO_DIRS (this
       generalizes  the  feature  provided by TERMINFO under stock System
     * In  terminfo  source files, use capabilities may refer not just to
       other entries in the same source file (as in System V) but also to
       compiled  entries  in  either the system terminfo directory or the
       user's $HOME/.terminfo directory.
     * A  script  (capconvert)  is  provided to help BSD users transition
       from  termcap to terminfo. It gathers the information in a TERMCAP
       environment  variable  and/or  a ~/.termcap local entries file and
       converts   it   to   an   equivalent  local  terminfo  tree  under
     * Automatic  fallback  to  the  /etc/termcap file can be compiled in
       when  it is not possible to build a terminfo tree. This feature is
       neither  fast  nor cheap, you don't want to use it unless you have
       to, but it's there.
     * The  table-of-entries  utility  toe makes it easy for users to see
       exactly what terminal types are available on the system.
     * The library meets the XSI requirement that every macro entry point
       have  a  corresponding  function  which may be linked (and will be
       prototype-checked)  if  the  macro  definition  is  disabled  with
     * An  HTML  "Introduction  to  Programming  with  NCURSES"  document
       provides  a  narrative  introduction  to  the  curses  programming

                             State of the Package

   Numerous bugs present in earlier versions have been fixed; the library
   is  far  more  reliable  than  it  used to be. Bounds checking in many
   `dangerous'  entry points has been improved. The code is now type-safe
   according  to gcc -Wall. The library has been checked for malloc leaks
   and arena corruption by the Purify memory-allocation tester.

   The  ncurses  code has been tested with a wide variety of applications
   including (versions starting with those noted):

          Curses Development Kit


          the  underlying  application used in Slackware's setup, and the
          basis for similar applications on GNU/Linux.

          the character-screen WWW browser

   Midnight Commander
          file manager

          mail utility

          file-transfer utility

          New vi versions 1.50 are able to use ncurses versions 1.9.7 and

          Lynx-like info browser.

          newsreader, supporting color, MIME [14]

   as well as some that use ncurses for the terminfo support alone:

          terminal emulator


   The  ncurses  distribution  includes  a  selection  of  test  programs
   (including a few games).

Who's Who and What's What

   Zeyd  Ben-Halim started it from a previous package pcurses, written by
   Pavel  Curtis.  Eric  S. Raymond continued development. Jürgen Pfeifer
   wrote  most of the form and menu libraries. Ongoing work is being done
   by  [17]Thomas  Dickey.  Thomas  Dickey acts as the maintainer for the
   Free  Software  Foundation,  which  holds  the  copyright  on ncurses.
   Contact the current maintainers at [18]

   To   join   the   ncurses   mailing   list,   please  write  email  to containing the line:
             subscribe <name>@<host.domain>

   This list is open to anyone interested in helping with the development
   and testing of this package.

   Beta  versions  of ncurses and patches to the current release are made
   available at [19] .

Future Plans

     * Extended-level   XPG4   conformance,   with   internationalization
     * Ports to more systems, including DOS and Windows.

   We  need  people to help with these projects. If you are interested in
   working on them, please join the ncurses list.

Other Related Resources

   The  distribution  provides  a  newer  version  of the terminfo-format
   terminal description file once maintained by [20]Eric Raymond . Unlike
   the  older  version, the termcap and terminfo data are provided in the
   same  file,  and provides several user-definable extensions beyond the
   X/Open specification.

   You  can  find  lots  of  information  on  terminal-related topics not
   covered in the terminfo file at [21]Richard Shuford's archive .