vt100 Strangeness

Martin McCormick martin at dc.cis.okstate.edu
Sat Jan 9 04:15:02 UTC 2010

	I have observed the following behavior for several
years. When in command mode in vi, the h and l keys move the
cursor left and right. If you are computer user that happens to
be blind and using a talking console, the l lets you hear each
character as you go over it. In freebsd, you do hear the letters
and  several punctuation marks, but one does not hear the digits
for some reason. If you were running the cursor over, for example, you hear    .  .   . . The numbers
are there and you hear them if you output the screen, but the OS
doesn't repaint them digits. Why?

	I used the screen utility for many years and this masked
the problem but I have recently changed to a version of Debian
Linux that has speech generation built in to the console. Since
there 6 virtual consoles so screen is not as necessary but it
is still useful at times.

	When not using screen, the silent digits are kind of
weird when stepping across them and it can even make it harder
to know when to stop if correcting them.

	I have not seen this behavior in other Unix forms. It is
not a show stopper, but I would like to have some idea what to
change to hear all printable characters.

	This may also explain why the bell character goes silent
in vi. You should hear it when hitting Escape in Command mode
and when the cursor hits the end of the line, but it is silent
in vi. You do hear it if the shell emits the Bell. You also hear
digits as you type them in. It's just if you move the cursor
over them that you don't hear the digits.

	Thanks for any ideas. This is a strange one, I admit.

Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK 
Systems Engineer
OSU Information Technology Department Telecommunications Services Group

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