Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

the futility of termcap in Linux

Filed under
Linux

Let's stop a moment and examine the futility of termcap in Linux.
Back in the 1970's Unix systems used to output to various hardware devices. First there were teletypes (most often the ASR-33, because they could be bought cheaply secondhand and refurbished by hobbyists). Teletypes were printers with keyboards attached, hooked up to a serial cable. Everything sent to the serial cable was printed with ink on paper, and the keys pressed by the user were sent the other way along the serial cable for the computer too read.

Note: we're not even talking dot-matrix printers here, the ink ribbon was generally struck by a daisy wheel or similar, so there was no possibility of bitmapped graphics. The characters were struck by good old metal type, dating back to Gutenberg.

This is what "tty" is an abbreviation for: teletype. The Unix console infrastructure still thinks in terms of serial ports connected to printers with keyboards attached. Newline and linefeed being separate characters, waiting until a full line of text is typed before processing it, inability to programmatically read back what was written. Even the ctrl-G "bell" character rang an actual metal BELL. These machines not only needed their ink ribons replaced, they needed to be periodically cleaned, oiled, and various pieces tightened and straightened because they rattled apart. It was almost steampunk.

Then in the 1970's "glass tty" devices were introduced, which connected the serial cable to a box with a CRT and keyboard, instead of printer and keyboard. This new style of terminal was a drop-in replacement for teletypes.

rest here




More in Tux Machines

Emmabuntüs Debian Edition Linux Is Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 "Stretch"

Emmabuntüs Linux developer Patrick d'Emmabuntüs informs us today on the immediate availability for download of the Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 2 1.02 release. Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 2 1.02 is the second maintenance update to the Debian-based operating system used in schools and other educational institutions across the globe. It's based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 9.4 "Stretch" operating system and brings various updated components, as well as improvements like the ability to turn off the script that handles the screensaver images and support for automatically detecting and configuring printers. Read more

Android Leftovers

Bodhi Linux 5.0 Enters Development Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, First Alpha Is Out

Now that Canonical released Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), more and more Ubuntu-based GNU/Linux distributions would want to upgrade to it for their next major releases, including Bodhi Linux with the upcoming 5.0 series. The first Alpha is here today to give us a glimpse of what to expect from the final release. Besides being based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the Bodhi Linux 5.0 operating system will be shipping with the forthcoming Moksha 0.3.0 desktop environment based on the Enlightenment window manager/desktop environment, and it's powered by the Linux 4.9 kernel series. Also, it supports 32-bit PAE and non-PAE systems. Read more

Lucky 13? Red Hat releases Red Hat OpenStack Platform 13

In a day filled with news about companies adopting OpenStack Queens, Red Hat, a leading OpenStack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud, stood out with its release of its long-term support Red Hat OpenStack Platform (RHOP) 13 since it's one of OpenStack's most stalwart supporters. At OpenStack Summit in Vancouver, Canada, Red Hat announced RHOP 13's release. RHOP is scheduled to be available in June via the Red Hat Customer Portal and as a component of both Red Hat Cloud Infrastructure and Red Hat Cloud Suite. Read more Also: VMware ready to release new OpenStack cloud program