tic - the terminfo entry-description compiler
tic [-1CINRTVacfrsx] [-e names] [-o dir] [-v[n]] [-w[n]] 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(3X).
The results are normally placed in the system terminfo directory /usr/share/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 /usr/share/terminfo or your TERMINFO directory, it
looks for the directory $HOME/.terminfo; if that directory exists, the entry is placed
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 /usr/share/terminfo.
-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.
-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 (and a documented limit in ter-
minfo), these entries may cause core dumps.
-vn 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, inclu-
sive, 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
-odir Write compiled entries to given directory. Overrides the TERMINFO environment
-wn specifies the width of the output.
-1 restricts the output to a single column
-C Force source translation to termcap format. Note: this differs from the -C option
of infocmp(1M) 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
-G Display constant literals in decimal form rather than their character equivalents.
-I Force source translation to terminfo format.
-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.
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 don't 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.
-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).
-V reports the version of ncurses which was used in this program, and exits.
-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 up to version 1.3 or BSD termcap up
to 4.3BSD) that doesn't handle multiple tc capabilities per entry.
-e 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 character literals in quoted form rather than their decimal equiv-
-s Summarize the compile by showing the directory into which entries are written, and
the number of entries which are compiled.
-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.
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
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 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 /usr/share/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 /usr/share/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, 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.
If the environment variable TERMINFO is set, the compiled results are placed there instead
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-
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 terminfo(5) for the list of termcap names taken to be equivalent to terminfo
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 directory (if it exists), or (finally) anywhere in the system's file tree of com-
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 -C, -G, -I, -N, -R, -T, -V, -a, -e, -f, -g, -o, -r, -s and -x options are not sup-
ported 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.
infocmp(1M), captoinfo(1M), infotocap(1M), toe(1M), curses(3X), terminfo(5).