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man pages section 8: System Administration Commands

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Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2022

infocmp (8)


infocmp - compare or print out terminfo descriptions


infocmp [-1CDEFGIKLTUVWcdegilnpqrtux]
[-v n] [-s d| i| l| c] [-Q n] [-R subset]
[-w width] [-A directory] [-B directory]


infocmp(8)                  System Manager's Manual                 infocmp(8)

       infocmp - compare or print out terminfo descriptions

       infocmp [-1CDEFGIKLTUVWcdegilnpqrtux]
             [-v n] [-s d| i| l| c] [-Q n] [-R subset]
             [-w width] [-A directory] [-B directory]

       infocmp  can be used to compare a binary terminfo entry with other ter-
       minfo entries, rewrite a terminfo description to take advantage of  the
       use=  terminfo  field,  or  print  out  a terminfo description from the
       binary file (term) in a variety of formats.  In all cases, the  boolean
       fields  will be printed first, followed by the numeric fields, followed
       by the string fields.

   Default Options
       If no options are specified and zero or one  termnames  are  specified,
       the -I option will be assumed.  If more than one termname is specified,
       the -d option will be assumed.

   Comparison Options [-d] [-c] [-n]
       infocmp  compares  the  terminfo  description  of  the  first  terminal
       termname  with  each  of  the descriptions given by the entries for the
       other terminal's termnames.  If a capability is defined for only one of
       the  terminals,  the value returned depends on the type of the capabil-

       o   F for missing boolean variables

       o   NULL for missing integer or string variables

       Use the -q option to show the distinction between absent and  cancelled

       These  options  produce a list which you can use to compare two or more
       terminal descriptions:

       -d   produces a list of each capability that is different  between  two
            entries.   Each  item  in  the list shows ":" after the capability
            name, followed by the capability values, separated by a comma.

       -c   produces a list of each capability that is common between  two  or
            more entries.  Missing capabilities are ignored.  Each item in the
            list shows "=" after the capability name, followed by the capabil-
            ity value.

            The  -u option provides a related output, showing the first termi-
            nal description rewritten to use the second as  a  building  block
            via the "use=" clause.

       -n   produces  a  list  of each capability that is in none of the given
            entries.  Each item in the list shows "!"  before  the  capability

            Normally only the conventional capabilities are shown.  Use the -x
            option to add the BSD-compatibility capabilities  (names  prefixed
            with "OT").

            If  no  termnames are given, infocmp uses the environment variable
            TERM for each of the termnames.

   Source Listing Options [-I] [-L] [-C] [-r]
       The -I, -L, and -C options will produce a source listing for each  ter-
       minal named.

            -I   use the terminfo names
            -L   use the long C variable name listed in <term.h>
            -C   use the termcap names
            -r   when using -C, put out all capabilities in termcap form
            -K   modifies the -C option, improving BSD-compatibility.

       If  no  termnames are given, the environment variable TERM will be used
       for the terminal name.

       The source produced by the -C option may be used directly as a  termcap
       entry,  but not all parameterized strings can be changed to the termcap
       format.  infocmp will attempt to  convert  most  of  the  parameterized
       information,  and  anything not converted will be plainly marked in the
       output and commented out.  These should be edited by hand.

       For best results when converting to termcap format, you should use both
       -C  and  -r.   Normally a termcap description is limited to 1023 bytes.
       infocmp trims away less essential parts to make it  fit.   If  you  are
       converting to one of the (rare) termcap implementations which accept an
       unlimited size of termcap, you may want to add  the  -T  option.   More
       often  however,  you  must  help  the  termcap implementation, and trim
       excess whitespace (use the -0 option for that).

       All padding information for strings  will  be  collected  together  and
       placed at the beginning of the string where termcap expects it.  Manda-
       tory padding (padding information with  a  trailing  "/")  will  become

       All  termcap  variables  no longer supported by terminfo, but which are
       derivable from other terminfo variables, will be output.  Not all  ter-
       minfo  capabilities will be translated; only those variables which were
       part of termcap will normally be output.  Specifying the -r option will
       take  off  this  restriction, allowing all capabilities to be output in
       termcap form.  Normally you would use both the -C and -r options.   The
       actual  format  used incorporates some improvements for escaped charac-
       ters from terminfo format.  For a stricter BSD-compatible  translation,
       use the -K option rather than -C.

       Note that because padding is collected to the beginning of the capabil-
       ity, not all capabilities are output.  Mandatory padding  is  not  sup-
       ported.   Because termcap strings are not as flexible, it is not always
       possible to convert a terminfo string  capability  into  an  equivalent
       termcap  format.  A subsequent conversion of the termcap file back into
       terminfo format will not necessarily reproduce  the  original  terminfo

       Some  common  terminfo  parameter sequences, their termcap equivalents,
       and some terminal types which commonly have such sequences, are:

           terminfo                    termcap   Representative Terminals
           %p1%c                       %.        adm
           %p1%d                       %d        hp, ANSI standard, vt100
           %p1%'x'%+%c                 %+x       concept
           %i                          %iq       ANSI standard, vt100
           %p1%?%'x'%>%t%p1%'y'%+%;    %>xy      concept
           %p2 is printed before %p1   %r        hp

   Use= Option [-u]
       The -u option produces a terminfo source description of the first  ter-
       minal  termname  which is relative to the sum of the descriptions given
       by the entries for the other terminals termnames.  It does this by ana-
       lyzing  the  differences  between  the  first  termname  and  the other
       termnames and producing a description with use= fields  for  the  other
       terminals.  In this manner, it is possible to retrofit generic terminfo
       entries into a terminal's description.  Or, if  two  similar  terminals
       exist, but were coded at different times or by different people so that
       each description is a full description, using infocmp  will  show  what
       can be done to change one description to be relative to the other.

       A capability will be printed with an at-sign (@) if it no longer exists
       in the first termname, but one of the other termname entries contains a
       value for it.  A capability's value will be printed if the value in the
       first termname is not found in any of the other termname entries, or if
       the  first of the other termname entries that has this capability gives
       a different value for the capability than that in the first termname.

       The order of the other termname entries is significant.  Since the ter-
       minfo compiler tic does a left-to-right scan of the capabilities, spec-
       ifying two use= entries that contain differing  entries  for  the  same
       capabilities will produce different results depending on the order that
       the entries are given in.  infocmp will flag any  such  inconsistencies
       between the other termname entries as they are found.

       Alternatively, specifying a capability after a use= entry that contains
       that capability will cause the  second  specification  to  be  ignored.
       Using  infocmp  to recreate a description can be a useful check to make
       sure that everything was specified correctly  in  the  original  source

       Another  error  that  does not cause incorrect compiled files, but will
       slow down the compilation time, is specifying extra  use=  fields  that
       are superfluous.  infocmp will flag any other termname use= fields that
       were not needed.

   Changing Databases [-A directory] [-B directory]
       Like other ncurses utilities, infocmp looks for the  terminal  descrip-
       tions  in  several  places.  You can use the TERMINFO and TERMINFO_DIRS
       environment variables to  override  the  compiled-in  default  list  of
       places to search (see curses(3X) for details).

       You  can  also use the options -A and -B to override the list of places
       to search when comparing terminal descriptions:

       o   The -A option sets the location for the first termname

       o   The -B option sets the location for the other termnames.

       Using these options, it is possible to compare descriptions for a  ter-
       minal  with  the  same  name  located  in two different databases.  For
       instance, you can use this feature for comparing descriptions  for  the
       same terminal created by different people.

   Other Options
       -0   causes the fields to be printed on one line, without wrapping.

       -1   causes the fields to be printed out one to a line.  Otherwise, the
            fields will be printed several to a line to a maximum width of  60

       -a   tells  infocmp  to  retain  commented-out capabilities rather than
            discarding them.  Capabilities are  commented  by  prefixing  them
            with a period.

       -D   tells infocmp to print the database locations that it knows about,
            and exit.

       -E   Dump the capabilities of the given terminal as tables,  needed  in
            the  C initializer for a TERMTYPE structure (the terminal capabil-
            ity structure in the <term.h>).  This option is useful for prepar-
            ing  versions of the curses library hardwired for a given terminal
            type.  The tables are all declared static, and are named according
            to the type and the name of the corresponding terminal entry.

            Before  ncurses  5.0,  the split between the -e and -E options was
            not needed; but support for extended  names  required  making  the
            arrays  of terminal capabilities separate from the TERMTYPE struc-

       -e   Dump the capabilities of the given terminal as a C initializer for
            a  TERMTYPE  structure  (the  terminal capability structure in the
            <term.h>).  This option is useful for preparing  versions  of  the
            curses library hardwired for a given terminal type.

       -F   compare terminfo files.  This assumes that two following arguments
            are filenames.   The  files  are  searched  for  pairwise  matches
            between  entries,  with  two entries considered to match if any of
            their names do.  The  report  printed  to  standard  output  lists
            entries  with  no matches in the other file, and entries with more
            than one match.  For entries with exactly one match it includes  a
            difference  report.  Normally, to reduce the volume of the report,
            use references are not resolved before  looking  for  differences,
            but resolution can be forced by also specifying -r.

       -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  char-
            acter equivalents.

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

       -i   Analyze the initialization (is1, is2, is3), and reset  (rs1,  rs2,
            rs3),  strings  in  the  entry,  as  well as those used for start-
            ing/stopping cursor-positioning mode (smcup,  rmcup)  as  well  as
            starting/stopping keymap mode (smkx, rmkx).

            For  each  string,  the  code  tries to analyze it into actions in
            terms of the other capabilities in the  entry,  certain  X3.64/ISO
            6429/ECMA-48 capabilities, and certain DEC VT-series private modes
            (the set of recognized special sequences  has  been  selected  for
            completeness  over  the  existing terminfo database).  Each report
            line consists of the capability name,  followed  by  a  colon  and
            space,  followed by a printable expansion of the capability string
            with  sections  matching  recognized   actions   translated   into
            {}-bracketed descriptions.

            Here is a list of the DEC/ANSI special sequences recognized:

                         Action        Meaning
                         RIS           full reset
                         SC            save cursor
                         RC            restore cursor
                         LL            home-down
                         RSR           reset scroll region
                         DECSTR        soft reset (VT320)
                         S7C1T         7-bit controls (VT220)
                         ISO DEC G0    enable DEC graphics for G0

                         ISO UK G0     enable UK chars for G0
                         ISO US G0     enable US chars for G0
                         ISO DEC G1    enable DEC graphics for G1
                         ISO UK G1     enable UK chars for G1
                         ISO US G1     enable US chars for G1
                         DECPAM        application keypad mode
                         DECPNM        normal keypad mode
                         DECANSI       enter ANSI mode
                         ECMA[+-]AM    keyboard action mode
                         ECMA[+-]IRM   insert replace mode
                         ECMA[+-]SRM   send receive mode
                         ECMA[+-]LNM   linefeed mode
                         DEC[+-]CKM    application cursor keys
                         DEC[+-]ANM    set VT52 mode
                         DEC[+-]COLM   132-column mode
                         DEC[+-]SCLM   smooth scroll
                         DEC[+-]SCNM   reverse video mode
                         DEC[+-]OM     origin mode
                         DEC[+-]AWM    wraparound mode
                         DEC[+-]ARM    auto-repeat mode

            It   also  recognizes  a  SGR  action  corresponding  to  ANSI/ISO
            6429/ECMA Set Graphics Rendition, with the  values  NORMAL,  BOLD,
            UNDERLINE,  BLINK,  and  REVERSE.   All but NORMAL may be prefixed

            o   "+" (turn on) or

            o   "-" (turn off).

            An SGR0 designates an  empty  highlight  sequence  (equivalent  to

       -l   Set output format to terminfo.

       -p   Ignore padding specifications when comparing strings.

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

               1  hexadecimal

               2  base64

               3  hexadecimal and base64

            For  example,  this prints the compiled terminfo value as a string
            which could be assigned to the TERMINFO environment variable:

                infocmp -0 -q -Q2

       -q   This makes the output a little shorter:

            o   Make the comparison listing shorter by  omitting  subheadings,
                and using "-" for absent capabilities, "@" for canceled rather
                than "NULL".

            o   However, show differences between absent and  cancelled  capa-

            o   Omit the "Reconstructed from" comment for source listings.

            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
            variants such as AIX that have their own  extensions  incompatible
            with SVr4/XSI.

            o   Available  terminfo  subsets  are  "SVr1", "Ultrix", "HP", and
                "AIX"; see terminfo(5) for details.

            o   You can also choose the subset "BSD" which selects only  capa-
                bilities  with  termcap equivalents recognized by 4.4BSD.  The
                -C option sets the "BSD" subset as a side-effect.

            o   If you select any other value for -R, it is  the  same  as  no
                subset,  i.e., all capabilities are used.  The -I option like-
                wise selects no subset as a side-effect.

       -s [d|i|l|c]
            The -s option sorts the fields within each type according  to  the
            argument below:

            d    leave  fields  in  the order that they are stored in the ter-
                 minfo database.

            i    sort by terminfo name.

            l    sort by the long C variable name.

            c    sort by the termcap name.

            If the -s option is not given, the  fields  printed  out  will  be
            sorted  alphabetically  by  the  terminfo  name  within each type,
            except in the case of the -C or the -L options,  which  cause  the
            sorting  to  be  done  by  the termcap name or the long C variable
            name, respectively.

       -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  ter-

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

       -U   tells  infocmp  to  not  post-process  the  data after parsing the
            source file.  This feature helps when comparing  the  actual  con-
            tents  of  two source files, since it excludes the inferences that
            infocmp makes to fill in missing data.

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

       -v n prints  out  tracing  information on standard error as the program

            The optional parameter n is a number  from  1  to  10,  inclusive,
            indicating the desired level of detail of information.  If ncurses
            is built  without  tracing  support,  the  optional  parameter  is

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

       -w width
            changes the output to width characters.

       -x   print information for user-defined capabilities (see user_caps(5).
            These  are  extensions  to  the  terminfo  repertoire which can be
            loaded using the -x option of tic.

                           Compiled terminal description database.

       Although System V Release 2 provided a terminfo library, it had no doc-
       umented  tool  for  decompiling the terminal descriptions.  Tony Hansen
       (AT&T) wrote the first infocmp in early 1984, for System V Release 3.

       Eric Raymond used the AT&T documentation in 1995 to provide an  equiva-
       lent  infocmp  for  ncurses.   In addition, he added a few new features
       such as:

       o   the -e option, to support fallback (compiled-in) terminal  descrip-

       o   the -i option, to help with analysis

       Later,  Thomas  Dickey added the -x (user-defined capabilities) option,
       and the -E option to support fallback entries with  user-defined  capa-

       For a complete list, see the EXTENSIONS section.

       In  2010,  Roy  Marples  provided an infocmp program for NetBSD.  It is
       less capable than the SVr4 or ncurses  versions  (e.g.,  it  lacks  the
       sorting  options  documented in X/Open), but does include the -x option
       adapted from ncurses.

       X/Open Curses, Issue 7 (2009) provides a description  of  infocmp.   It
       does not mention the options used for converting to termcap format.

       The  -0, -1, -E, -F, -G, -Q, -R, -T, -V, -a, -e, -f, -g, -i, -l, -p, -q
       and -t options are not supported in SVr4 curses.

       SVr4 infocmp does not distinguish between absent and cancelled capabil-
       ities.  Also, it shows missing integer capabilities as -1 (the internal
       value used to represent missing integers).  This  implementation  shows
       those as "NULL", for consistency with missing strings.

       The  -r  option's  notion of "termcap" capabilities is System V Release
       4's.  Actual BSD curses versions will have a more restricted  set.   To
       see only the 4.4BSD set, use -r -RBSD.

       The -F option of infocmp(8) should be a toe(8) mode.

       See attributes(7) for descriptions of the following attributes:

       |Availability   | library/ncurses  |
       |Stability      | Uncommitted      |

       captoinfo(8),  infotocap(8),  tic(8),  toe(8), curses(3X), terminfo(5).


       This describes ncurses version 6.3 (patch 20211021).

       Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com> and
       Thomas E. Dickey <dickey@invisible-island.net>

       Source code for open source software components in Oracle  Solaris  can
       be found at https://www.oracle.com/downloads/opensource/solaris-source-

       This    software    was    built    from    source     available     at
       https://github.com/oracle/solaris-userland.    The  original  community
       source   was    downloaded    from     https://invisible-mirror.net/ar-

       Further information about this software can be found on the open source
       community website at https://invisible-island.net/ncurses/.