tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler
tic [-1CGILNTUVacfgrstx] [-e names] [-o
dir] [-R subset] [-v[n]]
The command tic translates a terminfo file from source format into
compiled format. The compiled format is necessary for use with the library
routines in ncurses(3X).
The results are normally placed in the system terminfo directory
/usr/share/terminfo. There are two ways to change this behavior.
First, you may override the system default by setting the variable
TERMINFO in your shell environment to a valid (existing) directory
Secondly, if tic cannot get access to
/usr/share/terminfo or your TERMINFO directory, it looks for the
directory $HOME/.terminfo; if that directory exists, the entry is
Libraries that read terminfo entries are expected to check for a
TERMINFO directory first, look at $HOME/.terminfo if TERMINFO is not
set, and finally look in /usr/share/terminfo.
- restricts the output to a single column
- 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
- 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
- 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 (and a documented limit in terminfo),
these entries may cause core dumps.
- -e names
- Limit writes and translations to the following comma-separated list of
terminals. 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.)
- Display complex terminfo strings which contain if/then/else/endif
expressions indented for readability.
- Display constant literals in decimal form rather than their character
- Display constant character literals in quoted form rather than their
- Force source translation to terminfo format.
- Force source translation to terminfo format using the long C variable
names listed in <term.h>
- 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.
- Write compiled entries to given directory. Overrides the TERMINFO
- 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.
- 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.
- Summarize the compile by showing the directory into which entries are
written, and the number of entries which are compiled.
- 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 terminfo).
- tells tic to discard commented-out capabilities. Normally when
translating from terminfo to termcap, untranslatable capabilities are
- 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.
- reports the version of ncurses which was used in this program, and
- 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 10, inclusive, indicating the desired level of
detail of information. If n is omitted, the default level is 1. If
n is specified and greater than 1, the level of detail is
- specifies the width of the output. The parameter is optional. If it is
omitted, it defaults to 60.
- Treat unknown capabilities as user-defined. 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.
- 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.
The debug flag levels are as follows:
- Names of files created and linked
- Information related to the ``use'' facility
- Statistics from the hashing algorithm
- String-table memory allocations
- Entries into the string-table
- List of tokens encountered by scanner
- All values computed in construction of the hash table
If the debug level n is not given, it is taken to be
All but one of the capabilities recognized by tic are
documented in terminfo(5). The exception is the use
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. If the environment variable TERMINFO
is set, that directory is searched instead of /usr/share/terminfo.)
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
If the environment variable TERMINFO is set, the compiled
results are placed there instead of /usr/share/terminfo.
Total compiled entries cannot exceed 4096 bytes. 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
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 characters.
Unlike the stock 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 directory (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.
The -C, -G, -I, -N, -R,
-T, -V, -a, -e, -f, -g, -o,
-r, -s, -t and -x options are not supported
under SVr4. The SVr4 -c mode does not report bad use links.
System V does not compile entries to or read entries from your
$HOME/.terminfo directory unless TERMINFO is explicitly set to
infocmp(1), captoinfo(1), infotocap(1), curses(3),
- Compiled terminal description database.
This describes ncurses version 5.7.