man pages improvement clarification

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at
Mon Sep 3 23:45:12 UTC 2007

On 2007-09-03 19:48, t_ziel <t_ziel at> wrote:
> Hello!
> Thank you for answering my post "man pages improvement".
> Unfortunately:
> 1. I am not talking about web interface
> 2. I am not talking about browsing man pages in X-window environment

Nice.  I thought this was the case, but I had to ask.

> I am talking about browsing man pages in pure FreeBSD installation
> without configured X-window environment.

Sure.  I got it now :)

> Please see this screenshot:
> "52 Sep 20 Jaime Bozza (...)" -- perfect example that is "white
> background" I mentioned. (Is it reverse video that you mentioned?)

Yes, this is the "reverse video" attribute I am referring to.

In older terminal windows, which supported no color attributes,
it wasn't possible to display colorful text.  Even today, when
connected through a serial console, it is not always possible
to show colored text in FreeBSD.

What you see is one of the few "simple" text attributes that
many terminals (including older ones) support:

  bold text

  underlined text

  reverse video

The last one is a "hack" which can be used to make parts of the text
standa-out a bit, by reversing the foreground and background colors.
Hence the name "reverse video".

> Now my question: is it possible to configure FreeBSD's man pages
> (without X-window) to look like (for example)
> ?
> (out-of-the-box). This is imho more usable than current configuration.
> How can I do that in console?

I've done it in screen(1) sessions.  I don't know if it is possible
without *any* thirdparty program, but it should be possible.

The setup I am using to make my console terminals show underlined text
as "cyan" depends on screen(1), the popular terminal multiplexing
program.  In my ~/.screenrc file I have:

    termcap cons* us=\E[4m:ue=\E[m
    termcap xterm* us=\E[4m:ue=\E[m

This overrides the "us" and "ue" terminal capability strings, so when a
program tries to display underlined text using those capability strings,
it basically uses a cyan foreground color.

An alternative would be to use a local "termcap" to override these two
terminal capability strings for "cons*" terminals.

Maybe something like this would be useful for your setup too?  If that
is true, then this question is no longer "in topic" for freebsd-doc and
we can move it to freebsd-questions or a similar list.


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