default shell behavior with aterm

Chad Perrin perrin at
Wed Apr 11 23:09:36 UTC 2007

I've had to solve a problem with unexpected shell behavior when using
aterm (my favorite terminal emulator) a couple of times now.  This seems
to be limited to aterm -- the same problems do not arise at the TTY
console or in xterm.

Back when I first set up the workstation I'm currently using, with
FreeBSD 6.1, one of the unexpected differences from what's familiar to
me (having come from Debian GNU/Linux) was the fact that in aterm the
open parenthesis character, "(", would behave as a backspace.  I solved
the problem at the time, with a bit of searching around.  Part of what I
did to solve the problem involved entering the following command into
the .bashrc file for my user account:

  stty erase2 '^?'

Since then, something happened (I just wasn't careful enough with my
edits that file, I guess) to that line.  Last night, I found myself
trying to remember how to solve the problem of REPLs like OCaml's
toplevel and the interactive UCBLogo shell treating the open parenthesis
character as a backspace.

Another part of the solution the first time around -- and one that has
not gone away and needed to be refixed -- is to comment out these lines
in the file /usr/ports/x11/aterm/Makefile:

  .if !defined(WITH_BSDEL)
  CONFIGURE_ARGS+=       --disable-backspace-key --disable-delete-key

My question is this:

Is there some (good) reason that aterm's Makefile contains these lines?
Is there some logically justified reason for causing aterm to break the
principle of least surprise in this fashion -- since it obviously works
differently (surprise!) from the behavior of other means of using the

Is this a bug I should submit?

CD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
"Real ugliness is not harsh-looking syntax, but having to
build programs out of the wrong concepts." - Paul Graham

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