curs_termcap - Linux


curs_termcap is a command-line utility that evaluates termcap(5) strings and prints the calculated cursor movement codes. It is primarily used to debug termcap(5) entries or to generate cursor movement codes for specific terminal emulators.


curs_termcap [OPTION]... TERM [CAPABILITY]...


  • -v, –verbose: Display additional debugging information.
  • -s, –stream: Output cursor codes in a stream, without line breaks.
  • -n, –no-cap: Do not expand capabilities, only show unevaluated strings.
  • -u, –use-stdin: Read termcap strings from standard input.
  • -h, –help: Display help and usage information.


Simple Usage:

Print the cursor up code for the "xterm" terminal:

curs_termcap xterm cuu1

Evaluating Multiple Capabilities:

Evaluate multiple capabilities for the "vt100" terminal:

curs_termcap vt100 cr cub1 cuf1 home

Reading from File:

Read termcap strings from a file named "mytermcap":

curs_termcap -u mytermcap

Common Issues

  • Missing or Incorrect TERM Variable: Ensure that the TERM environment variable is set correctly to the type of terminal emulator being used.
  • Undefined Capabilities: If a capability is not defined in the termcap database, curs_termcap will output an error message. Check the terminal emulator’s documentation or use the -n option to suppress expansion.


Generating Custom Escape Sequences:

Combine curs_termcap with other commands to generate custom escape sequences:

echo -n "$(curs_termcap xterm cuf1)"

Advanced Terminal Control:

Use curs_termcap within scripts or command chains to control terminal behavior:

tput clear
curs_termcap xterm home
echo "Cursor is now at the top-left corner"

Related Commands

  • terminfo: Provides a more modern way to manage terminal capabilities.
  • tput: A command to generate terminal control sequences.