tic 1m 2024-05-11 ncurses 6.5 User commands

tic(1m)                          User commands                         tic(1m)


       tic - compile terminal descriptions for terminfo or termcap


       tic  [-01acCDfgGIKLNqrstTUVWx] [-e terminal-type-list] [-o dir] [-Q[n]]
       [-R subset] [-v[n]] [-w[n]] file


       The tic command translates a terminfo  file  from  source  format  into
       compiled  format.   The  compiled  format is necessary for use with the
       library routines in ncurses(3x).

       As described in term(5), the database may be either  a  directory  tree
       (one  file  per  terminal  entry)  or a hashed database (one record per
       entry).  The tic command writes only one type of  entry,  depending  on
       how it was built:

       o   For    directory    trees,    the    top-level   directory,   e.g.,
           /usr/share/terminfo, specifies the location of the database.

       o   For hashed databases, a filename is needed.  If the given  file  is
           not  found  by  that  name,  but  can be found by adding the suffix
           ".db", then that is used.

           The default name for the hashed database is the same as the default
           directory name (only adding a ".db" suffix).

       In  either  case  (directory  or  hashed database), tic will create the
       container if it does not exist.  For a directory,  this  would  be  the
       "terminfo" leaf, versus a "terminfo.db" file.

       The  results  are  normally  placed  in  the  system  terminfo database
       /usr/share/terminfo.  The compiled terminal description can  be  placed
       in a different terminfo database.  There are two ways to achieve this:

       o   First,  you  may override the system default either by using the -o
           option,  or  by  setting  the  variable  TERMINFO  in  your   shell
           environment to a valid database location.

       o   Secondly,  if  tic  cannot  write  in  /usr/share/terminfo  or  the
           location specified using your TERMINFO variable, it looks  for  the
           directory  $HOME/.terminfo (or hashed database $HOME/.terminfo.db);
           if that location exists, the entry is placed there.

       Libraries  that  read  terminfo  entries  are  expected  to  check   in

       o   a location specified with the TERMINFO environment variable,

       o   $HOME/.terminfo,

       o   directories listed in the TERMINFO_DIRS environment variable,

       o   a compiled-in list of directories (/usr/share/terminfo), and

       o   the system terminfo database (/usr/share/terminfo).

       The  Fetching  Compiled  Descriptions section in the terminfo(5) manual
       goes into further detail.


       This is the same program as infotocap and captoinfo; usually those  are
       linked to, or copied from this program:

       o   When invoked as infotocap, tic sets the -I option.

       o   When invoked as captoinfo, tic sets the -C option.


       -0     restricts the output to a single line

       -1     restricts the output to a single column

       -a     tells  tic  to  retain  commented-out  capabilities  rather than
              discarding them.  Capabilities are commented by  prefixing  them
              with  a  period.  This sets the -x option, because it treats the
              commented-out entries as user-defined names.  If the  source  is
              termcap,  accept  the  2-character  names required by version 6.
              Otherwise these are ignored.

       -C     Force source translation to termcap format.  Note: this  differs
              from  the  -C  option  of infocmp(1m) in that it does not merely
              translate capability names, but also translates terminfo strings
              to  termcap  format.  Capabilities that are not translatable are
              left in the entry under their terminfo names but  commented  out
              with  two  preceding  dots.  The actual format used incorporates
              some improvements for escaped characters from  terminfo  format.
              For a stricter BSD-compatible translation, add the -K option.

              If  this  is  combined  with  -c, tic makes additional checks to
              report cases where the terminfo values  do  not  have  an  exact
              equivalent in termcap form.  For example:

              o   sgr  usually  will  not  convert,  because termcap lacks the
                  ability to work with more than two parameters,  and  because
                  termcap  lacks many of the arithmetic/logical operators used
                  in terminfo.

              o   capabilities with more than one delay or with delays  before
                  the end of the string will not convert completely.

       -c     tells  tic  to  only  check  file  for  errors, including syntax
              problems and bad use-links.  If you specify -C  (-I)  with  this
              option,  the code will print warnings about entries which, after
              use resolution, are more than 1023 (4096) bytes long.  Due to  a
              fixed buffer length in older termcap libraries, as well as buggy
              checking for the  buffer  length  (and  a  documented  limit  in
              terminfo),  these  entries  may  cause  core  dumps  with  other

              tic  checks  string  capabilities  to  ensure  that  those  with
              parameters  will  be valid expressions.  It does this check only
              for the predefined string capabilities; those which are  defined
              with the -x option are ignored.

       -D     tells  tic  to print the database locations that it knows about,
              and exit.  The first location shown is the one to which it would
              write  compiled  terminal  descriptions.   If tic is not able to
              find  a  writable  database  location  according  to  the  rules
              summarized  above,  it  will print a diagnostic and exit with an
              error rather than printing a list of database locations.

       -e list
              Limit writes and translations to  the  comma-separated  list  of
              terminal  types.  If any name or alias of a terminal matches one
              of the  names  in  the  list,  the  entry  will  be  written  or
              translated as normal.  Otherwise no output will be generated for
              it.  The option value is interpreted as a  file  containing  the
              list  if  it  contains  a  '/'.  (Note: depending on how tic was
              compiled, this option may require -I or -C.)

       -f     Display    complex    terminfo     strings     which     contain
              if/then/else/endif expressions indented for readability.

       -G     Display  constant  literals  in  decimal  form rather than their
              character equivalents.

       -g     Display constant character literals in quoted form  rather  than
              their decimal equivalents.

       -I     Force source translation to terminfo format.

       -K     Suppress some longstanding ncurses extensions to termcap format,
              e.g., "\s" for space.

       -L     Force source translation to terminfo format  using  the  long  C
              variable names listed in <term.h>

       -N     Disable smart defaults.  Normally, when translating from termcap
              to terminfo, the compiler makes a number  of  assumptions  about
              the    defaults    of    string    capabilities   reset1_string,
              carriage_return, cursor_left, cursor_down, scroll_forward,  tab,
              newline, key_backspace, key_left, and key_down, then attempts to
              use obsolete termcap capabilities to deduce correct values.   It
              also normally suppresses output of obsolete termcap capabilities
              such as bs.  This option forces a more literal translation  that
              also preserves the obsolete capabilities.

       -odir  Write  compiled  entries  to given database location.  Overrides
              the TERMINFO environment variable.

       -Qn    Rather than show source in terminfo  (text)  format,  print  the
              compiled   (binary)   format  in  hexadecimal  or  base64  form,
              depending on the option's value:

               1  hexadecimal

               2  base64

               3  hexadecimal and base64

       -q     Suppress  comments  and  blank  lines  when  showing  translated

              Restrict  output to a given subset.  This option is for use with
              archaic versions of terminfo like those on SVr1, Ultrix, or  HP-
              UX that do not support the full set of SVR4/XSI Curses terminfo;
              and outright broken ports like  AIX  3.x  that  have  their  own
              extensions incompatible with SVr4/XSI.

              Available subsets are
              "SVr1", "Ultrix", "HP", "BSD", and "AIX"

              See terminfo(5) for details.

       -r     Force   entry   resolution   (so   there  are  no  remaining  tc
              capabilities) even when doing  translation  to  termcap  format.
              This  may  be  needed  if you are preparing a termcap file for a
              termcap library (such as GNU termcap through version 1.3 or  BSD
              termcap  through  4.3BSD)  that  does  not  handle  multiple  tc
              capabilities per entry.

       -s     Summarize the compile by  showing  the  database  location  into
              which  entries  are written, and the number of entries which are

       -T     eliminates size-restrictions on the  generated  text.   This  is
              mainly  useful  for  testing  and  analysis,  since the compiled
              descriptions are limited  (e.g.,  1023  for  termcap,  4096  for

       -t     tells  tic to discard commented-out capabilities.  Normally when
              translating   from   terminfo   to    termcap,    untranslatable
              capabilities are commented-out.

       -U     tells  tic to not post-process the data after parsing the source
              file.  Normally, it infers data which  is  commonly  missing  in
              older terminfo data, or in termcaps.

       -V     reports  the  version of ncurses which was used in this program,
              and exits.

       -vn    specifies that (verbose) output be  written  to  standard  error
              trace information showing tic's progress.

              The  optional  parameter  n  is a number from 1 to 9, inclusive,
              indicating the desired level of detail of information.

              o   If ncurses is built without tracing  support,  the  optional
                  parameter is ignored.

              o   If n is omitted, the default level is 1.

              o   If n is specified and greater than 1, the level of detail is
                  increased,  and  the  output  is   written   (with   tracing
                  information) to the "trace" file.

              The debug flag levels are as follows:

              1   Names of files created and linked

              2   Information related to the "use" facility

              3   Statistics from the hashing algorithm

              4   Details of extended capabilities

              5   (unused)

              6   (unused)

              7   Entries into the string-table

              8   List of tokens encountered by scanner

              9   All values computed in construction of the hash table

       -W     By  itself,  the  -w  option  will  not force long strings to be
              wrapped.  Use the -W option to do this.

              If you specify both -f and -W options,  the  latter  is  ignored
              when -f has already split the line.

       -wn    specifies  the  width of the output.  The parameter is optional.
              If it is omitted, it defaults to 60.

       -x     Treat unknown capabilities as user-defined  (see  user_caps(5)).
              That  is,  if  you  supply  a capability name which tic does not
              recognize, it will infer its type (Boolean,  number  or  string)
              from  the  syntax  and  make  an  extended table entry for that.
              User-defined capability strings whose name begins with  "k"  are
              treated as function keys.


       file   contains  one  or  more terminfo terminal descriptions in source
              format  [see  terminfo(5)].   Each  description  in   the   file
              describes the capabilities of a particular terminal.

              If  file  is "-", then the data is read from the standard input.
              The file parameter may also be the path of a character-device.


       All but one of the capabilities recognized by  tic  are  documented  in
       terminfo(5).  The exception is the use capability.

       When a use=entry-name field is discovered in a terminal entry currently
       being compiled, tic reads in the  binary  from  /usr/share/terminfo  to
       complete  the  entry.   (Entries  created from file will be used first.
       tic duplicates the capabilities in entry-name for  the  current  entry,
       with the exception of those capabilities that explicitly are defined in
       the current entry.

       When an entry, e.g., entry_name_1, contains a  use=entry_name_2  field,
       any   canceled   capabilities  in  entry_name_2  must  also  appear  in
       entry_name_1 before use= for  these  capabilities  to  be  canceled  in

       Total  compiled  entries cannot exceed 4096 bytes in the legacy storage
       format, or 32768 using the extended  number  format.   The  name  field
       cannot  exceed  512  bytes.  Terminal names exceeding the maximum alias
       length (32 characters on systems with  long  filenames,  14  characters
       otherwise)  will be truncated to the maximum alias length and a warning
       message will be printed.


              compiled terminal description database


       There is  some  evidence  that  historic  tic  implementations  treated
       description  fields with no whitespace in them as additional aliases or
       short names.  This tic  does  not  do  that,  but  it  does  warn  when
       description fields may be treated that way and check them for dangerous


       Unlike the SVr4 tic command, this implementation can  actually  compile
       termcap  sources.   In fact, entries in terminfo and termcap syntax can
       be mixed in a single source file.  See  terminfo(5)  for  the  list  of
       termcap names taken to be equivalent to terminfo names.

       The  SVr4  manual  pages  are not clear on the resolution rules for use
       capabilities.   This  implementation  of  tic  will  find  use  targets
       anywhere  in  the  source  file, or anywhere in the file tree rooted at
       TERMINFO (if TERMINFO is defined), or  in  the  user's  $HOME/.terminfo
       database  (if  it  exists),  or (finally) anywhere in the system's file
       tree of compiled entries.

       The error messages from this tic have the same format as  GNU  C  error
       messages, and can be parsed by GNU Emacs's compile facility.

       Aside from -c and -v, options are not portable:

       o   Most of tic's options are not supported by SVr4 tic:

           -0 -1 -C -G -I -N -R -T -V -a -e -f -g -o -r -s -t -x

       o   The NetBSD tic supports a few of the ncurses options

           -a -o -x

           and  adds  -S  (a feature which does the same thing as infocmp's -e
           and -E options).

       The SVr4 -c mode does not report bad "use=" links.

       System V does  not  compile  entries  to  or  read  entries  from  your
       $HOME/.terminfo database unless TERMINFO is explicitly set to it.


       X/Open  Curses, Issue 7 (2009) provides a brief description of tic.  It
       lists one option: -c.  The omission of -v is  unexpected.   The  change
       history  states  that the description is derived from Tru64.  According
       to its manual pages, that system also supported the -v option.

       Shortly after Issue 7 was released,  Tru64  was  discontinued.   As  of
       2019,  the  surviving  implementations  of tic are SVr4 (AIX, HP-UX and
       Solaris), ncurses and NetBSD curses.  The SVr4 tic programs all support
       the  -v option.  The NetBSD tic program follows X/Open's documentation,
       omitting the -v option.

       The X/Open rationale states  that  some  implementations  of  tic  read
       terminal  descriptions from the standard input if the file parameter is
       omitted.  None of these implementations do that.  Further, it  comments
       that  some  may  choose  to  read  from  "./terminfo.src"  but  that is
       obsolescent behavior from SVr2, and is not (for example)  a  documented
       feature of SVr3.


       System  V  Release  2  provided  a  tic  utility.  It accepted a single
       option: -v (optionally  followed  by  a  number).   According  to  Ross
       Ridge's comment in mytinfo, this version of tic was unable to represent
       cancelled capabilities.

       System V Release 3 provided a different tic utility, written  by  Pavel
       Curtis,  (originally named "compile" in pcurses).  This added an option
       -c to check the file for errors, with the caveat that errors in  "use="
       links  would  not  be  reported.   System  V Release 3 documented a few
       warning messages which did not appear in pcurses.   While  the  program
       itself  was  changed  little  as  development  continued  with System V
       Release 4, the table of capabilities grew from  180  (pcurses)  to  464

       In  early  development of ncurses (1993), Zeyd Ben-Halim used the table
       from mytinfo to extend the  pcurses  table  to  469  capabilities  (456
       matched  SVr4, 8 were only in SVr4, 13 were not in SVr4).  Of those 13,
       11 were ultimately discarded (perhaps to  match  the  draft  of  X/Open
       Curses).   The exceptions were memory_lock_above and memory_unlock (see

       Eric Raymond incorporated parts of mytinfo into  ncurses  to  implement
       the  termcap-to-terminfo  source conversion, and extended that to begin
       development of the corresponding terminfo-to-termcap source conversion,
       Thomas  Dickey  completed  that  development over the course of several

       In 1999, Thomas Dickey added the  -x  option  to  support  user-defined

       In  2010,  Roy  Marples provided a tic program and terminfo library for
       NetBSD.  That implementation  adapts  several  features  from  ncurses,
       including tic's -x option.

       The  -c  option  tells tic to check for problems in the terminfo source
       file.  Continued development provides additional checks:

       o   pcurses had 8 warnings

       o   ncurses in 1996 had 16 warnings

       o   Solaris (SVr4) curses has 28 warnings

       o   NetBSD tic in 2019 has 19 warnings.

       o   ncurses in 2019 has 96 warnings

       The checking done in ncurses' tic helps with the conversion to termcap,
       as well as pointing out errors and inconsistencies.  It is also used to
       ensure consistency with the user-defined capabilities.  There  are  527
       distinct  capabilities  in ncurses' terminal database; 128 of those are


       Eric S. Raymond <> and
       Thomas E. Dickey <>


       captoinfo(1m),   infocmp(1m),   infotocap(1m),   toe(1m),   curses(3x),
       term(5), terminfo(5), user_caps(5)

ncurses 6.5                       2024-05-11                           tic(1m)