problem with delete key...

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Operating Systems Solaris problem with delete key...
# 8  
Old 10-31-2008
First, to clarify: we are talking here about the key labeled "Delete" on my 102 key keyboard, and so marked on all of the other hundreds of millions of standard PC keyboards out there. I'm NOT talking about the "Backspace" key, which old unix culture calls "delete", or rather DEL, per this termio man page entry from a solaris 8 box:

ERASE (DEL) erases the preceding character. It does not erase beyond the start of a line, as delimited by a NL, EOF, EOL, or EOL2 character.
I have experienced this issue (non functionality of my "Delete" and other keys) logging in via (open)ssh, using several term emulators (pure xterm, konsole, rxvt, others), from a wide variety of linux systems (2.2 kernels and up, several releases of RH, SuSe, Debian, several releases of Ubuntu, Gentoo, various custom builds), logging into many different Sun systems (solaris 7 thru 10 inclusive, both SPARC and x86).

HOME, END, and less frequently, PGUP, PGDN, and occasionally, the UP, DN, RIGHT, and LEFT arrow keys are also troublesome.

I've put many, many hours (40+) into fixing this. I've read a lot of man pages. I've done a lot of googling. I'm stymied.

It's been awhile so I'm a little rusty on it; but I've been spending a bunch of time dealing w/Solaris this week and it's on my mind. Looking over my notes, I've assaulted this from several angles; the primary vectors of attack have been terminfo (with a brief foray into legacy termcap stuff) and keytables. Of course there's been the stty tricks, various local tweaks to the various terminals. Many other abortive sojourns. All to no avail.

I've yet to packet sniff a solaris box to see what it sees but that is probably in the cards the next time I get furious enough to spend my time and my employer's money on this issue.

As to solutions, yes, this "works":

it should work with "stty erase ^H", but you will have to type the <ctrl>h keyboard combination...

# stty erase \^h #for backspace
# stty erase \^? #for delete

Of course, it really isn't a solution, is it? I mean, the keys on this old 102 PC keyboard (I buy these things used for a few dollars, I can't stand the action on modern kbds) still don't do what it says on the key. "Delete". Right Erase. Rub out. Whatever.

Why in god's name solving this is so hard I've no clue. A lot of it has to do with the culture war implicit in the issue. Personally, I don't care to engage in a culture war.

I'd just like to make this work. I want to press the key labeled "Delete" on my 102 key PC keyboard and see it delete the character under the cursor. Is there a human being alive, logging in to any Solaris box from any Linux workstation using any terminal emulator, obtaining this result?

# 9  
Old 10-31-2008
You are missing the fact the terminal emulators you use under Linux (or Solaris or whatever) are sometimes messing with what the backspace and delete keys are sending.

Also, there is usually no character under the cursor when you are in command line mode, there is a character at the left of the cursor and it seems natural to me to use backspace to erase it. Delete has traditionally be used to delete the character under the cursor (or the the right of the cursor if the cursor is not a block but a vertical line between character slots) but not the one to the left.

Old Unix culture as you wrote hasn't confused Delete and Backspace which has always been clearly separated both as keys and as ASCII characters.
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