the terminfo entry-description compiler 

Curses Command


tic [-v[n]] [-w[n]] [-1hcpICNRrsTu] [-e names] [-o dir] file


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.

The results are normally placed in the system terminfo directory $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/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 name.

Secondly, if tic cannot get access to $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/terminfo or your TERMINFO directory, it looks for the directory $HOME/.terminfo; if that directory exists, the entry is placed there.

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 $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/terminfo.


prints help message and exits.


specifies 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.


specifies that (verbose) output be written to standard error trace information showing tic's progress. The optional integer 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 increased.


writes compiled entries to given directory. Overrides the TERMINFO environment variable.


specifies the width of the output.


restricts the output to a single column


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).


forces source translation to terminfo format.


forces source translation to terminfo format using the long C variable names listed in <term.h>


forces source translation to termcap format. Note: this differs from the -C option of infocmp 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.


disables 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.


restricts output to a given subset. This option is for use with archaic versions of terminfo like those on SVr1, Ultrix, or HP/UX that don't support the full set of SVR4/XSI Curses terminfo; and outright broken ports like AIX that have their own extensions incompatible with SVr4/XSI. Available subsets are "SVr1", "Ultrix", "HP", "BSD" and "AIX"; see terminfo for details.


forces 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 up to version 1.3 or BSD termcap up to 4.3BSD) that doesn't handle multiple tc capabilities per entry.


summarizes the compile by showing the directory into which entries are written, and the number of entries which are compiled.


limits 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.)


contains one or more terminfo terminal descriptions in source format [see terminfo]. Each description in the file describes the capabilities of a particular terminal.

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 n is not given, it is taken to be one.

All but one of the capabilities recognized by tic are documented in the terminfo page. 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 $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/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 $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/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, for example, 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 entry_name_1.

If the environment variable TERMINFO is set, the compiled results are placed there instead of $ROOTDIR/usr/lib/terminfo.

Total compiled entries cannot exceed 4096 bytes. The name field cannot exceed 128 bytes. Terminal names exceeding 14 characters will be truncated to 14 characters and a warning message will be printed.


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 the terminfo page 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 -o, -I, -C, -N, -R, -h, -e, -T, -r, and -s 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 it.



Compiled terminal description database.


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