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The Virtual Terminal

Each window in a screen session emulates a VT100 terminal, with some extra functions added. The VT100 emulator is hardcoded; no other terminal types can be emulated.

Usually screen tries to emulate as much of the VT100/ANSI standard as possible. But if your terminal lacks certain capabilities, the emulation may not be complete. In these cases screen has to tell the applications that some of the features are missing. This is no problem on machines using termcap, because screen can use the $TERMCAP variable to customize the standard screen termcap.

But if you do a rlogin on another machine or your machine supports only terminfo this method fails. Because of this, screen offers a way to deal with these cases. Here is how it works:

When screen tries to figure out a terminal name for itself, it first looks for an entry named “screen.<term>”, where <term> is the contents of your $TERM variable. If no such entry exists, screen tries “screen” (or “screen-w” if the terminal is wide (132 cols or more)). If even this entry cannot be found, “vt100” is used as a substitute.

The idea is that if you have a terminal which doesn't support an important feature (e.g. delete char or clear to EOS) you can build a new termcap/terminfo entry for screen (named “screen.<dumbterm>”) in which this capability has been disabled. If this entry is installed on your machines you are able to do a rlogin and still keep the correct termcap/terminfo entry. The terminal name is put in the $TERM variable of all new windows. screen also sets the $TERMCAP variable reflecting the capabilities of the virtual terminal emulated. Notice that, however, on machines using the terminfo database this variable has no effect. Furthermore, the variable $WINDOW is set to the window number of each window.

The actual set of capabilities supported by the virtual terminal depends on the capabilities supported by the physical terminal. If, for instance, the physical terminal does not support underscore mode, screen does not put the us and ue capabilities into the window's $TERMCAP variable, accordingly. However, a minimum number of capabilities must be supported by a terminal in order to run screen; namely scrolling, clear screen, and direct cursor addressing (in addition, screen does not run on hardcopy terminals or on terminals that overstrike).

Also, you can customize the $TERMCAP value used by screen by using the “termcap” .screenrc command, or by defining the variable $SCREENCAP prior to startup. When the is latter defined, its value will be copied verbatim into each window's $TERMCAP variable. This can either be the full terminal definition, or a filename where the terminal “screen” (and/or “screen-w”) is defined.

Note that screen honors the “terminfo” .screenrc command if the system uses the terminfo database rather than termcap.

When the boolean 'G0' capability is present in the termcap entry for the terminal on which screen has been called, the terminal emulation of screen supports multiple character sets. This allows an application to make use of, for instance, the VT100 graphics character set or national character sets. The following control functions from ISO 2022 are supported: lock shift G0 (SI), lock shift G1 (SO), lock shift G2, lock shift G3, single shift G2, and single shift G3. When a virtual terminal is created or reset, the ASCII character set is designated as G0 through G3. When the G0 capability is present, screen evaluates the capabilities S0, E0, and C0 if present. S0 is the sequence the terminal uses to enable and start the graphics character set rather than SI. E0 is the corresponding replacement for SO. C0 gives a character by character translation string that is used during semi-graphics mode. This string is built like the acsc terminfo capability.

When the po and pf capabilities are present in the terminal's termcap entry, applications running in a screen window can send output to the printer port of the terminal. This allows a user to have an application in one window sending output to a printer connected to the terminal, while all other windows are still active (the printer port is enabled and disabled again for each chunk of output). As a side-effect, programs running in different windows can send output to the printer simultaneously. Data sent to the printer is not displayed in the window. The info command displays a line starting 'PRIN' while the printer is active.

screen maintains a hardstatus line for every window. If a window gets selected, the display's hardstatus will be updated to match the window's hardstatus line. If the display has no hardstatus the line will be displayed as a standard screen message. The hardstatus line can be changed with the ANSI Application Program Command (APC): ESC_<string>ESC\. As a convenience for xterm users the sequence ESC]0..2;<string>^G is also accepted.

Some capabilities are only put into the $TERMCAP variable of the virtual terminal if they can be efficiently implemented by the physical terminal. For instance, dl (delete line) is only put into the $TERMCAP variable if the terminal supports either delete line itself or scrolling regions. Note that this may provoke confusion, when the session is reattached on a different terminal, as the value of $TERMCAP cannot be modified by parent processes.

The “alternate screen” capability is not enabled by default. Set the altscreen .screenrc command to enable it.

The following is a list of control sequences recognized by screen. “(V)” and “(A)” indicate VT100-specific and ANSI- or ISO-specific functions, respectively.

ESC E Next Line
ESC D Index
ESC M Reverse Index
ESC H Horizontal Tab Set
ESC Z Send VT100 Identification String
ESC 7 (V) Save Cursor and Attributes
ESC 8 (V) Restore Cursor and Attributes
ESC [s (A) Save Cursor and Attributes
ESC [u (A) Restore Cursor and Attributes
ESC c Reset to Initial State
ESC g Visual Bell
ESC Pn p Cursor Visibility (97801)
Pn = 6 Invisible
7 Visible
ESC = (V) Application Keypad Mode
ESC > (V) Numeric Keypad Mode
ESC # 8 (V) Fill Screen with Es
ESC \ (A) String Terminator
ESC ^ (A) Privacy Message String (Message Line)
ESC ! Global Message String (Message Line)
ESC k A.k.a. Definition String
ESC P (A) Device Control String. Outputs a string directly to the host terminal without interpretation.
ESC _ (A) Application Program Command (Hardstatus)
ESC ] 0 ; string ^G (A) Operating System Command (Hardstatus, xterm title hack)
ESC ] 83 ; cmd ^G (A) Execute screen command. This only works if multi-user support is compiled into screen. The pseudo-user “:window:” is used to check the access control list. Use aclchg :window: -rwx #? to create a user with no rights and allow only the needed commands.
Control-N (A) Lock Shift G1(SO)
Control-O (A) Lock Shift G0 (SI)
ESC n (A) Lock Shift G2
ESC o (A) Lock Shift G3
ESC N (A) Single Shift G2
ESC O (A) Single Shift G3
ESC ( Pcs (A) Designate character set as G0
ESC ) Pcs (A) Designate character set as G1
ESC * Pcs (A) Designate character set as G2
ESC + Pcs (A) Designate character set as G3
ESC [ Pn ; Pn H Direct Cursor Addressing
ESC [ Pn ; Pn f same as above
ESC [ Pn J Erase in Display
Pn = None or 0 From Cursor to End of Screen
1 From Beginning of Screen to Cursor
2 Entire Screen
ESC [ Pn K Erase in Line
Pn = None or 0 From Cursor to End of Line
1 From Beginning of Line to Cursor
2 Entire Line
ESC [ Pn X Erase character
ESC [ Pn A Cursor Up
ESC [ Pn B Cursor Down
ESC [ Pn C Cursor Right
ESC [ Pn D Cursor Left
ESC [ Pn E Cursor next line
ESC [ Pn F Cursor previous line
ESC [ Pn G Cursor horizontal position
ESC [ Pn ' same as above
ESC [ Pn d Cursor vertical position
ESC [ Ps ;…; Ps m Select Graphic Rendition
Ps = None or 0 Default Rendition
1 Bold
2 (A) Faint
3 (A) Standout Mode (ANSI: Italicized)
4 Underlined
5 Blinking
7 Negative Image
22 (A) Normal Intensity
23 (A) Standout Mode off (ANSI: Italicized off)
24 (A) Not Underlined
25 (A) Not Blinking
27 (A) Positive Image
30 (A) Foreground Black
31 (A) Foreground Red
32 (A) Foreground Green
33 (A) Foreground Yellow
34 (A) Foreground Blue
35 (A) Foreground Magenta
36 (A) Foreground Cyan
37 (A) Foreground White
39 (A) Foreground Default
40 (A) Background Black
49 (A) Background Default
ESC [ Pn g Tab Clear
Pn = None or 0 Clear Tab at Current Position
3 Clear All Tabs
ESC [ Pn ; Pn r (V) Set Scrolling Region
ESC [ Pn I (A) Horizontal Tab
ESC [ Pn Z (A) Backward Tab
ESC [ Pn L (A) Insert Line
ESC [ Pn M (A) Delete Line
ESC [ Pn @ (A) Insert Character
ESC [ Pn P (A) Delete Character
ESC [ Pn S Scroll Scrolling Region Up
ESC [ Pn T Scroll Scrolling Region Down
ESC [ Pn ^ same as above
ESC [ Ps ;…; Ps h Set Mode
ESC [ Ps ;…; Ps l Reset Mode
Ps = 4 (A) Insert Mode
20 (A) Automatic Linefeed Mode
34 Normal Cursor Visibility
?1 (V) Application Cursor Keys
?3 (V) Change Terminal Width to 132 columns
?5 (V) Reverse Video
?6 (V) Origin Mode
?7 (V) Wrap Mode
?9 X10 mouse tracking
?25 (V) Visible Cursor
?47 Alternate Screen (old xterm code)
?1000 (V) VT200 mouse tracking
?1047 Alternate Screen (new xterm code)
?1049 Alternate Screen (new xterm code)
ESC [ 5 i (A) Start relay to printer (ANSI Media Copy)
ESC [ 4 i (A) Stop relay to printer (ANSI Media Copy)
ESC [ 8 ; Ph ; Pw t Resize the window to Ph lines and Pw columns (SunView special)
ESC [ c Send VT100 Identification String
ESC [ x Send Terminal Parameter Report
ESC [ > c Send VT220 Secondary Device Attributes String
ESC [ 6 n Send Cursor Position Report

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