TSET(1) OpenBSD Reference Manual TSET(1)
tset - terminal initialization
tset [-IQqrSs] [-] [-e ch] [-i ch] [-k ch] [-m mapping] [terminal]
reset [-IQqrSs] [-] [-e ch] [-i ch] [-k ch] [-m mapping] [terminal]
tset initializes terminals. tset first determines the type of terminal
that you are using. This determination is done as follows, using the
first terminal type found:
1. The terminal argument specified on the command line.
2. The value of the TERM environment variable.
3. The terminal type associated with the standard error output
device in the /etc/ttys file.
4. The default terminal type, ``unknown''.
If the terminal type was not specified on the command-line, the -m option
mappings are then applied (see below for more information). Then, if the
terminal type begins with a question mark (``?''), the user is prompted
for confirmation of the terminal type. An empty response confirms the
type, or, another type can be entered to specify a new type. Once the
terminal type has been determined, the termcap entry for the terminal is
retrieved. If no termcap entry is found for the type, the user is
prompted for another terminal type.
Once the termcap entry is retrieved, the window size, backspace, inter-
rupt, and line kill characters (among many other things) are set and the
terminal and tab initialization strings are sent to the standard error
output. Finally, if the erase, interrupt and line kill characters have
changed, or are not set to their default values, their values are dis-
played to the standard error output.
When invoked as reset, tset sets cooked and echo modes, turns off cbreak
and raw modes, turns on newline translation and resets any unset special
characters to their default values before doing the terminal initializa-
tion described above. This is useful after a program dies leaving a ter-
minal in an abnormal state. Note, you may have to type ``<LF>reset<LF>''
(the line-feed character is normally control-J) to get the terminal to
work, as carriage-return may no longer work in the abnormal state. Also,
the terminal will often not echo the command.
The options are as follows:
- The terminal type is displayed to the standard output, and the ter-
minal is not initialized in any way. This option has been depre-
cated in favor of the -q flag.
Set the erase character to ch.
-I Do not send the terminal or tab initialization strings to the ter-
Set the interrupt character to ch.
Set the line kill character to ch.
Specify a mapping from a port type to a terminal. See below for
-Q Don't display any values for the erase, interrupt and line kill
-q The terminal type is displayed to the standard output, and the ter-
minal is not initialized in any way.
-r Print the terminal type to the standard error output.
-S Print the terminal type and the termcap entry to the standard out-
put. See the section below on setting the environment for details.
-s Print the sequence of shell commands to initialize the environment
variables TERM and TERMCAP to the standard output. See the section
below on setting the environment for details.
The arguments for the -e, -i and -k options may either be entered as ac-
tual characters or by using the ``hat'' notation, i.e. control-h may be
specified as ``^H'' or ``^h''.
SETTING THE ENVIRONMENT
It is often desirable to enter the terminal type and information about
the terminal's capabilities into the shell's environment. This is done
using the -S and -s options.
When the -S option is specified, the terminal type and the termcap entry
are written to the standard output, separated by a space and without a
terminating newline. This can be assigned to an array by csh(1) and
ksh(1) users and then used like any other shell array.
When the -s option is specified, the commands to enter the information
into the shell's environment are written to the standard output. If the
SHELL environment variable ends in ``csh'', the commands are for csh(1),
otherwise, they are for sh(1). Note, the csh(1) commands set and unset
the shell variable ``noglob'', leaving it unset. The following line in
the .login or .profile files will initialize the environment correctly:
eval `tset -s options ... `
To demonstrate a simple use of the -S option, the following lines in the
.login file have an equivalent effect:
set term=(`tset -S options ...`)
setenv TERM $term
setenv TERMCAP "$term"
TERMINAL TYPE MAPPING
When the terminal is not hardwired into the system (or the current system
information is incorrect), the terminal type derived from the /etc/ttys
file or the TERM environment variable is often something generic like
``network'', ``dialup'', or ``unknown''. When tset is used in a startup
script (.profile for sh(1) users or .login for csh(1) users) it is often
desirable to provide information about the type of terminal used on such
The purpose of the -m option is to ``map'' from some set of conditions to
a terminal type, that is, to tell tset ``If I'm on this port at a partic-
ular speed, guess that I'm on that kind of terminal''.
The argument to the -m option consists of an optional port type, an op-
tional operator, an optional baud rate specification, an optional colon
(``:'') character, and a terminal type. The port type is a string (de-
limited by either the operator or the colon character). The operator may
be any combination of: ``>'', ``<'', ``@'', and ``!''; ``>'' means
greater than, ``<'' means less than, ``@'' means equal to, and ``!'' in-
verts the sense of the test. The baud rate is specified as a number and
is compared with the speed of the standard error output (which should be
the control terminal). The terminal type is a string.
If the terminal type is not specified on the command line, the -m map-
pings are applied to the terminal type. If the port type and baud rate
match the mapping, the terminal type specified in the mapping replaces
the current type. If more than one mapping is specified, the first ap-
plicable mapping is used.
For example, consider the following mapping: ``dialup>9600:vt100''. The
port type is ``dialup'', the operator is ``>'', the baud rate specifica-
tion is ``9600'', and the terminal type is ``vt100''. The result of this
mapping is to specify that if the terminal type is ``dialup'', and the
baud rate is greater than 9600 baud, a terminal type of ``vt100'' will be
If no port type is specified, the terminal type will match any port type,
for example, ``-m dialup:vt100 -m :?xterm'' will cause any dialup port,
regardless of baud rate, to match the terminal type ``vt100'', and any
non-dialup port type to match the terminal type ``?xterm''. Note, because
of the leading question mark, the user will be queried on a default port
as to whether they are actually using an xterm terminal.
No whitespace characters are permitted in the -m option argument. Also,
to avoid problems with meta-characters, it is suggested that the entire
-m option argument be placed within single quote characters, and that
csh(1) users insert a backslash character (``\'') before any exclamation
The tset command utilizes the SHELL and TERM environment variables.
/etc/ttys system port name to terminal type mapping
/usr/share/misc/termcap terminal capability database
csh(1), sh(1), stty(1), tty(4), termcap(5), ttys(5), environ(7)
The tset command appeared in 3.0BSD.
The tset command now uses the terminfo(5) database where previous ver-
sions used termcap(5). To make the -s and -S options still work, tset
also reads in the terminal entry from termcap(5). However, this info is
used for setting TERMCAP only. If the terminal type appears in termin-
fo(5) but not in termcap(5), the -q option will not set TERMCAP and the
-Q option will not work at all.
The -A, -E, -h, -u, and -v options have been deleted from the tset utili-
ty. None of them were documented in 4.3BSD and all are of limited utili-
ty at best. The -a, -d and -p options are similarly not documented or
useful, but were retained as they appear to be in widespread use. It is
strongly recommended that any usage of these three options be changed to
use the -m option instead. The -n option remains, but has no effect. It
is still permissible to specify the -e, -i and -k options without argu-
ments, although it is strongly recommended that such usage be fixed to
explicitly specify the character.
Executing tset as reset no longer implies the -Q option. Also, the in-
teraction between the - option and the terminal argument in some historic
implementations of tset has been removed.
Finally, the tset implementation has been completely redone (as part of
the addition to the system of a IEEE Std1003.1-1988 (``POSIX'') compliant
terminal interface) and will no longer compile on systems with older ter-
OpenBSD 2.6 November 15, 1998 4
Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.