tic 1m

tic(1m)                                                                tic(1m)


       tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler


       tic  [-01CDGIKLNTUVWacfgqrstx]  [-e names] [-o dir] [-Q[n]] [-R subset]
       [-v[n]] [-w[n]] file


       The tic command translates a terminfo file from source format into com-
       piled  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/ter-
           minfo, 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 con-
       tainer if it does not exist.  For a directory, this would be the  "ter-
       minfo" 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  environ-
           ment to a valid database location.

       o   Secondly,  if  tic cannot write in /usr/share/terminfo or the loca-
           tion 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  succes-

       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/local/ncurses/share/ter-
           minfo:/usr/share/terminfo), and

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


       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 dis-
              carding them.  Capabilities are commented by prefixing them with
              a  period.   This sets the -x option, because it treats the com-
              mented-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 prob-
              lems 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  ter-
              minfo),  these entries may cause core dumps with other implemen-

              tic checks string capabilities to ensure that those with parame-
              ters 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  summa-
              rized  above,  it will print a diagnostic and exit with an error
              rather than printing a list of database locations.

       -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 com-
              piled, 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,  car-
              riage_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, depend-
              ing 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 ter-
              minfo; 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

       -r     Force  entry  resolution (so there are no remaining tc capabili-
              ties) 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  ter-

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

       -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 10, inclusive,
            indicating the desired level of detail of information.  If ncurses
            is  built  without  tracing  support,  the  optional  parameter is
            ignored.  If n is omitted, the default level is 1.  If n is speci-
            fied and greater than 1, the level of detail is increased.

            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

            5      String-table memory allocations

            7      Entries into the string-table

            8      List of tokens encountered by scanner

            9      All values computed in construction of the hash table

            If the debug level n is not given, it is taken to be one.

       -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 recog-
            nize, 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 func-
            tion 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.  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.


       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 warn-
       ing 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 (Solaris).

       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


       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 True64 UNIX.
       According to its manual  pages,  that  system  also  supported  the  -v

       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 ter-
       minal 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 obsoles-
       cent  behavior from SVr2, and is not (for example) a documented feature
       of SVr3.


       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 descrip-
       tion  fields may be treated that way and check them for dangerous char-


       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  any-
       where  in  the source file, or anywhere in the file tree rooted at TER-
       MINFO (if TERMINFO is defined), or in the user's $HOME/.terminfo  data-
       base (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.


            Compiled terminal description database.


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

       This describes ncurses version 6.2 (patch 20200222).


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