[Techtalk] rxvt - was: Re: End key no longer goes to EOL

Telsa Gwynne hobbit at aloss.ukuu.org.uk
Sun Jan 13 22:36:19 EST 2002

On Sun, Jan 13, 2002 at 03:28:32PM +0100 or thereabouts, Almut Behrens wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 13, 2002 at 12:27:54PM +0000, Telsa Gwynne wrote:
> > 
> > Oh boy. A good half of gnome-terminal bugs at times seem to be
> > "xterm does this neat thing. Why doesn't gnome-terminal?" I have
> > discovered xterm does tons and tons of things now!
> Although I haven't been missing anything so far, maybe it's just that
> I don't know what I'm (not) missing...
> Can you provide a few highlights?

The one I particularly remember was being able to arbitrarily
decide to log everything in xterm and its scrollback into a file.
Very good for things like a a terminal watching a logfile which
suddenly breaks into activity you want to peruse at leisure.

Holding down the control key and hitting any of the usual three
mouse buttons comes up with a plethora of options.

control and button-1 is the "main options"
control and button-2 is the "VT options"
control and button-3 gives you "VT fonts"

(Well, they do here, on RH 7.2, at least :)) 

I don't know how other distributions do it, but Red Hat splits
the documentation for XFree86 (and hence xterm) into a separate
package: XFree86-doc. I don't think everyone installs it. But 
if you do, there are tons of things in there (on Red Hat it goes
into /usr/share/doc/XFree86-doc-(version)/xterm and has the
incredibly long ctlseqs.PS.gz in there. The things you can do
to an xterm on the fly are amazing. The most useful shellscript
(if "two lines" can be called a shellscript) I ever made came
from that:


# How to make your xterm, gnome-terminal, etc, have a new title if
# you didn't start it with xterm --title or gnome-terminal --title.
# $* is "whatever you typed as an argument when you ran the script"
# So 'titlebar.sh Horace' gives you a window called Horace.

printf "\033]0;$*\007"
echo "Changed window title to $*"

I realise that a proper UNIX program would not report success,
but oh well :) I find it useful for when I start shading windows
and want to make sure I don't kill off something that was important
by mistake. I remove the stuff from /etc/profile which constantly
updates your titlebar with the user and directory because I prefer
this instead. And being the only user of the machine, I can mess
with /etc with impunity :) 

> > but the reason I never
> > really got going with rxvt was that in the FAQ for it, it's plain that 
> > rxvt does it one way, and that I was used to it the other way.
> That didn't bother me too much, because I usually build those things
> from sources, and then, it's reasonably trivial to set it up the way
> you want it to behave (feature.h) -- I don't even know any more if I
> did change the default...

Ah, right. I couldn't be bothered to go that far. I was just interested
to find that it preferred "the other way". 

> Anyway, I only reconfigure these things when a major new release of
> rxvt comes out -- and even this is mainly only to deal with that uneasy
> feeling of knowing that one might be using outdated stuff ;) 
> Basically, I'm happy with the way it works.

There are few things I actively change hugely, because sooner or
later I end up on a box that doesn't have the changes. At that
stage, my clever aliases or expectations do bad things. 

Having said that, my /etc/ directory gets backed up along with 
my dotfiles. A friend once called /etc the personality of your
computer. That's such a cool description.

> Personally, I prefer to have just *one* font that I do like -- and that
> automatically brings along with it, that I don't need to change them
> on-the-fly ;)  (The only time I ever felt the need to fiddle with the
> font size was when there were some people standing at the other end of
> the room, who wanted to read what I was typing...)

Nod. I never really got into caring too much about fonts. Provided
they do the characters I wanted, I am happy. 
> I guess I'm just the "minimalist" type of user/geek.  I don't really
> need much to interact with my computers.  OTOH, I want those few
> programs I use regularly, to work *exactly* the way I like it -- and I
> can go to great lengths to achieve that. There's hardly a single one of
> my favorite programs without some "personalized" sections of code.
> Being able to do that is one of the many things I love about linux and
> open-source.



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