tic(1)                               General Commands Manual                               tic(1)

       tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler

       tic [-01CDGIKLNTUVacfgqrstx] [-e names] [-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(3NCURSES).

       As described in term(5), the database may be either a directory tree (one file per  termi‐
       nal  entry)  or a hashed database (one record per entry).  The tic command writes only one
       type of entry, depending on how it was built:

       ·   For directory trees, the top-level directory, e.g., /usr/share/terminfo, specifies the
           location of the database.

       ·   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"

       The  results  are normally placed in the system terminfo database /etc/terminfo.  The com‐
       piled terminal description can be placed in a different terminfo database.  There are  two
       ways to achieve this:

       ·   First,  you  may override the system default either by using the -o option, or by set‐
           ting the variable TERMINFO in your shell environment to a valid database location.

       ·   Secondly, if tic cannot write in /etc/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 succession

       ·   a location specified with the TERMINFO environment variable,

       ·   $HOME/.terminfo,

       ·   directories listed in the TERMINFO_DIRS environment variable,

       ·   a compiled-in list of directories (no default value), and

       ·   the system terminfo database (/etc/terminfo).

       -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.   Capa‐
              bilities  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(1)  in  that  it  does  not merely translate capability names, but also
              translates terminfo strings to termcap format.  Capabilities that are not translat‐
              able  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:

              ·   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/log‐
                  ical operators used in terminfo.

              ·   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 implementations.

              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 sum‐
              marized above, it will print a diagnostic and exit with an error rather than print‐
              ing 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 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 equiv‐

       -I     Force source translation to terminfo format.

       -K     Suppress  some  longstanding  ncurses  extensions to termcap format, e.g., "\s" for

       -L     Force source translation to terminfo format using the long C variable names  listed

       -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, new‐
              line, key_backspace, key_left, and key_down, then attempts to use obsolete  termcap
              capabilities to deduce correct values.  It also normally suppresses output of obso‐
              lete termcap capabilities such as bs.  This option forces a more  literal  transla‐
              tion that also preserves the obsolete capabilities.

       -odir  Write compiled entries to given database location.  Overrides the TERMINFO environ‐
              ment variable.

       -Qn    Rather than show source in terminfo (text) format, print the compiled (binary) for‐
              mat 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 source.

              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 writ‐
              ten, and the number of entries which are compiled.

       -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 terminfo).

       -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 show‐
            ing 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 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.

       -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.  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  ter‐
              minfo(5)].  Each description in the file describes the capabilities of a particular

              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 /etc/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

       When an entry, e.g., entry_name_1, contains a use=entry_name_2 field, any  canceled  capa‐
       bilities  in entry_name_2 must also appear in entry_name_1 before use= for these capabili‐
       ties to be canceled in entry_name_1.

       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.

       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 dan‐
       gerous characters.

       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/.ter‐
       minfo database (if it exists), or (finally) anywhere in the system's file tree of compiled

       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  -0, -1, -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  database
       unless TERMINFO is explicitly set to it.

            Compiled terminal description database.

       infocmp(1), captoinfo(1), infotocap(1), toe(1), ncurses(3NCURSES), term(5).  terminfo(5).

       This describes ncurses version 6.0 (patch 20160213).

       Eric S. Raymond  and
       Thomas E. Dickey 



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