Colors, mutt, termcap/terminfo

Chip Camden sterling at
Wed Jun 9 00:17:12 UTC 2010

I finally got 256 colors working with mutt and zsh on FreeBSD.  Even though both of
these programs apparently use terminfo rather than termcap, a termcap
entry must exist for your TERM setting, or they both complain.

I had tried that before, but I was missing one key ingredient.  The environment
variable TERMCAP needed to be set to the path of the termcap file, even
if it is /etc/termcap.  Apparently, if TERMCAP isn't set, a built-in
termcap table is used instead.

The terminfo setting I wanted was rxvt-256color, which existed in
terminfo but not in termcap.  So, I edited /etc/termcap to include a
setting for rxvt-256color, export TERMCAP=/etc/termcap, export
TERM=rxvt-256color, and all is now right with the world.

Of course, I only want to use 256 colors if I'm running under rxvt.  So I
wrote a shell script to start mutt that tests for that and sets an
environment variable MUTT_COLORS to the name of a file that includes my
mutt color settings (either .mutt-color256 or .mutt-color8).  Then, in

source "~/$MUTT_COLORS"

Sterling (Chip) Camden | | |

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