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Terminfo compiler (UNIX)


tic [-c] [-i] [-v n] file

Runs on:



Perform only a syntax check of the input file. No output file is produced.
Ignore errors when compiling terminfo files from other systems that describe capabilities not currently supported in /usr/lib/terminfo.
-v n
Set verbose output level. Progress information is output to stderr as tic works though the source file. The integer argument controls the verbosity of the report, 1 providing the least detail and 10 providing the most. The default is 0, providing “quiet” compilation.
The pathname of a file that contains one or more terminal descriptions in terminfo source format. Each description in the file describes a particular terminal. When a use=entry_name field is encountered within a terminal description, tic reads the previously compiled description from the /usr/lib/terminfo directory to finish the entry. This allows terminal descriptions that are only slightly different from one previously defined to be expressed as an extension to that previous description. If the environment variable TERMINFO is set, the directory named is used instead of the /usr/lib/terminfo directory.


The tic utility translates a terminfo file from the source format into the compiled format, ready to use by applications running on the terminal type named in the terminfo source file.

The compiled terminfo capability files are stored in single-character directories, under the /usr/lib/terminfo directory. For example, the VT100 terminfo file is stored in /usr/lib/terminfo/v/vt100.

You can use the infocmp utility to convert a binary, compiled terminfo file back into a source format that you can modify, and then recompile it with tic.

Some error messages produced by tic indicate the line of the source file in error and the terminal name being processed at that point.

Environment variables:

When defined, the compiled output from tic is placed under the directory named instead of in the /usr/lib/terminfo directory.

Exit status:

The input file was compiled successfully.
An error occurred.


The total size of a compiled terminfo description cannot exceed 4096 bytes. The name field cannot exceed 128 bytes.

Terminal names longer than 14 characters are truncated to 14 characters.

See also:


Strang, John, Linda Mui, and Tim O'Reilly. 1988. termcap & terminfo. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly and Associates. ISBN 0937175226.