Visible bell mini-Howto: Basic Concepts About Termcap

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The file /etc/termcap is a text file which lists the terminal capabilities. Several applications use the termcap information to move the cursor in the screen and do other screen-oriented tasks. tcsh, bash, vi and all the curses-based applications use the termcapdatabase.

The database represents various terminal types, and applications use the TERM environment variable to refer to the right entry in termcap. Each capability is then represented by a two-letter code associated to the character string used to get the desired effect. The separator character between different capabilities is colon (« : »). As an example, the audible bell, whith code « bl », is usually represented by the string « bl=^G« , which instructs the applications to use the control-G character, the ASCII BEL.

In addition to the bl capability, there is a vb capability, which represents the « visible bell ». vb is usually missing in the console entry in Linux’ /etc/termcap.

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