Using terminfo

Jacob Wahlgren jacob at
Fri Sep 20 15:09:12 UTC 2019

Other users have asked about how to use a non-xterm terminal with FreeBSD, and the answer is usually to run infocmp -C to convert the terminal’s provided terminfo file to the termcap format and install those to their system. Most users are satisfied with this solution as any error messages disappear and most terminal functionality is restored. However, anyone who has done this knows that some capabilities have no counterpart in termcap, and that some capabilities will be left out to conform to the arcane 1023 byte limit.

I run the kitty terminal on my Macbook to ssh to my FreeBSD server. Using the aforementioned procedure I got the most basic terminal features like cup mode and bold text, but notably not colors (due to size limit presumably). The applications I expect to see color in are mainly ls (from base) and vim (from ports).

I have thought about trying to hand craft a reasonable termcap for kitty, but I would rather just use the terminfo file directly.

What is stopping base ncurses from supporting terminfo? Is there some configuration I can do to rebuild it with terminfo support?

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