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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for setmetamode (redhat section 1)

SETMETAMODE(1)						      General Commands Manual						    SETMETAMODE(1)

setmetamode - define the keyboard meta key handling
setmetamode [ {meta|bit|metabit | esc|prefix|escprefix} ]
Without argument, setmetamode prints the current Meta key mode. With argument, it sets the Meta key mode as indicated. The setting before and after the change are reported. The Meta key mode is specific for each VT (and the VT corresponding to stdin is used). One might use setmetamode in /etc/rc to define the initial state of the Meta key mode, e.g. by INITTY=/dev/tty[1-8] for tty in $INITTY; do setmetamode escprefix < $tty done
esc prefix escprefix The Meta key sends an Escape prefix. meta bit metabit The Meta key sets the high order bit of the character.
loadkeys(1) 30 Jan 1994 SETMETAMODE(1)