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tic(1)                          User commands                         tic(1)


       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
       /opt/local/share/terminfo.  The compiled terminal description can be
       placed in a different terminfo database.  There are two ways to achieve

       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 /opt/local/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 (/opt/local/share/terminfo), and

       o   the system terminfo database (/opt/local/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 /opt/local/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                       2024-04-27                           tic(1)

ncurses 6.5 - Generated Tue Apr 30 18:59:20 CDT 2024
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