Simple Terminal
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FAQ (7157B)

      1 ## Why does st not handle utmp entries?
      3 Use the excellent tool of [utmp]( for this task.
      5 ## Some _random program_ complains that st is unknown/not recognised/unsupported/whatever!
      7 It means that st doesn’t have any terminfo entry on your system. Chances are
      8 you did not `make install`. If you just want to test it without installing it,
      9 you can manualy run `tic -sx`.
     11 ## Nothing works, and nothing is said about an unknown terminal!
     13 * Some programs just assume they’re running in xterm i.e. they don’t rely on
     14   terminfo. What you see is the current state of the “xterm compliance”.
     15 * Some programs don’t complain about the lacking st description and default to
     16   another terminal. In that case see the question about terminfo.
     18 ## I get some weird glitches/visual bug on _random program_!
     20 Try launching it with a different TERM: $ TERM=xterm myapp. toe(1) will give
     21 you a list of available terminals, but you’ll most likely switch between xterm,
     22 st or st-256color. The default value for TERM can be changed in config.h
     23 (TNAME).
     25 ## How do I scroll back up?
     27 Using a terminal multiplexer.
     29 * `st -e tmux` using C-b [
     30 * `st -e screen` using C-a ESC
     32 ## Why doesn't the Del key work in some programs?
     34 Taken from the terminfo manpage:
     36 	If the terminal has a keypad that transmits codes when the keys
     37 	are pressed, this information can be given. Note that it is not
     38 	possible to handle terminals where the keypad only works in
     39 	local (this applies, for example, to the unshifted HP 2621 keys).
     40 	If the keypad can be set to transmit or not transmit, give these
     41 	codes as smkx and rmkx. Otherwise the keypad is assumed to
     42 	always transmit.
     44 In the st case smkx=E[?1hE= and rmkx=E[?1lE>, so it is mandatory that
     45 applications which want to test against keypad keys send these
     46 sequences.
     48 But buggy applications (like bash and irssi, for example) don't do this. A fast
     49 solution for them is to use the following command:
     51 	$ printf '\033[?1h\033=' >/dev/tty
     53 or
     54 	$ tput smkx
     56 In the case of bash, readline is used. Readline has a different note in its
     57 manpage about this issue:
     59 	enable-keypad (Off)
     60 		When set to On, readline will try to enable the
     61 		application keypad when it is called. Some systems
     62 		need this to enable arrow keys.
     64 Adding this option to your .inputrc will fix the keypad problem for all
     65 applications using readline.
     67 If you are using zsh, then read the zsh FAQ
     68 <>:
     70 	It should be noted that the O / [ confusion can occur with other keys
     71 	such as Home and End. Some systems let you query the key sequences
     72 	sent by these keys from the system's terminal database, terminfo.
     73 	Unfortunately, the key sequences given there typically apply to the
     74 	mode that is not the one zsh uses by default (it's the "application"
     75 	mode rather than the "raw" mode). Explaining the use of terminfo is
     76 	outside of the scope of this FAQ, but if you wish to use the key
     77 	sequences given there you can tell the line editor to turn on
     78 	"application" mode when it starts and turn it off when it stops:
     80 		function zle-line-init () { echoti smkx }
     81 		function zle-line-finish () { echoti rmkx }
     82 		zle -N zle-line-init
     83 		zle -N zle-line-finish
     85 Putting these lines into your .zshrc will fix the problems.
     87 ## How can I use meta in 8bit mode?
     89 St supports meta in 8bit mode, but the default terminfo entry doesn't
     90 use this capability. If you want it, you have to use the 'st-meta' value
     91 in TERM.
     93 ## I cannot compile st in OpenBSD
     95 OpenBSD lacks librt, despite it being mandatory in POSIX
     96 <>.
     97 If you want to compile st for OpenBSD you have to remove -lrt from, and
     98 st will compile without any loss of functionality, because all the functions are
     99 included in libc on this platform.
    101 ## The Backspace Case
    103 St is emulating the Linux way of handling backspace being delete and delete being
    104 backspace.
    106 This is an issue that was discussed in suckless mailing list
    107 <>. Here is why some old grumpy
    108 terminal users wants its backspace to be how he feels it:
    110 	Well, I am going to comment why I want to change the behaviour
    111 	of this key. When ASCII was defined in 1968, communication
    112 	with computers was done using punched cards, or hardcopy
    113 	terminals (basically a typewriter machine connected with the
    114 	computer using a serial port).  ASCII defines DELETE as 7F,
    115 	because, in punched-card terms, it means all the holes of the
    116 	card punched; it is thus a kind of 'physical delete'. In the
    117 	same way, the BACKSPACE key was a non-destructive backspace,
    118 	as on a typewriter.  So, if you wanted to delete a character,
    119 	you had to BACKSPACE and then DELETE.  Another use of BACKSPACE
    120 	was to type accented characters, for example 'a BACKSPACE `'.
    121 	The VT100 had no BACKSPACE key; it was generated using the
    122 	CONTROL key as another control character (CONTROL key sets to
    123 	0 b7 b6 b5, so it converts H (code 0x48) into BACKSPACE (code
    124 	0x08)), but it had a DELETE key in a similar position where
    125 	the BACKSPACE key is located today on common PC keyboards.
    126 	All the terminal emulators emulated the difference between
    127 	these keys correctly: the backspace key generated a BACKSPACE
    128 	(^H) and delete key generated a DELETE (^?).
    130 	But a problem arose when Linus Torvalds wrote Linux. Unlike
    131 	earlier terminals, the Linux virtual terminal (the terminal
    132 	emulator integrated in the kernel) returned a DELETE when
    133 	backspace was pressed, due to the VT100 having a DELETE key in
    134 	the same position.  This created a lot of problems (see [1]
    135 	and [2]). Since Linux has become the king, a lot of terminal
    136 	emulators today generate a DELETE when the backspace key is
    137 	pressed in order to avoid problems with Linux. The result is
    138 	that the only way of generating a BACKSPACE on these systems
    139 	is by using CONTROL + H. (I also think that emacs had an
    140 	important point here because the CONTROL + H prefix is used
    141 	in emacs in some commands (help commands).)
    143 	From point of view of the kernel, you can change the key
    144 	for deleting a previous character with stty erase. When you
    145 	connect a real terminal into a machine you describe the type
    146 	of terminal, so getty configures the correct value of stty
    147 	erase for this terminal. In the case of terminal emulators,
    148 	however, you don't have any getty that can set the correct
    149 	value of stty erase, so you always get the default value.
    150 	For this reason, it is necessary to add 'stty erase ^H' to your
    151 	profile if you have changed the value of the backspace key.
    152 	Of course, another solution is for st itself to modify the
    153 	value of stty erase.  I usually have the inverse problem:
    154 	when I connect to non-Unix machines, I have to press CONTROL +
    155 	h to get a BACKSPACE. The inverse problem occurs when a user
    156 	connects to my Unix machines from a different system with a
    157 	correct backspace key.
    159 	[1]
    160 	[2]
    162 ## But I really want the old grumpy behaviour of my terminal
    164 Apply [1].
    166 [1]