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David S. Lawyer

v1.43 March 2013
This document was originally written for real text terminals which were like monitors (with keyboards), but could only display text with a command line interface (no pictures). They were widely used to access mainframe computers in the late 1970's and 1980's but use of them declined in the 1990's and they are seldom used anymore. However much of this howto also applies to command-line interfaces on Linux PC's which are in wide use today. It's not about the user programs one might run on the command line, but about setting up, managing, and understanding the interface itself Such as using a monitor as a virtual (text-only) console, using a text-window in a GUI such as xterm, connecting to a remote computer over a network via ssh, telnet, etc., or even using software on another PC to turn it into a serial-port text-terminal. All these 4 methods are known as "text-terminal emulation". But unfortunately, the main emphasis in this howto is real text terminals and the coverage of emulation is inadequate for the first 3 methods of emulation mentioned above. The Keyboard-and-Console-HOWTO filled much this gap but it was written for Linux 2.0 and now needs rewriting (or merging into this Text-Terminal howto). A new author is needed that has time to do all this. For the seldom used real text-terminals, it explains how they work, explains how to install and configure them, and provides some info on how to repair them. This HOWTO also provides a brief overview of modern GUI terminals.

1. Introduction

2. Types of Terminals

3. Thin Clients Terminals

4. Quick Text-Terminal Install

5. Why Use a Terminal ?

6. Overview of How Text Terminals Work (in Linux)

7. Terminal Special Files such as /dev/tty

8. Some Details on How Terminals Work

9. Special Features/Types of Some Terminals

10. Terminal Emulation (including the Console)

11. Flow Control (Handshaking)

12. Physical Connection

13. Set-Up (Configure) in General

14. Terminal Set-Up (Configure) Details

15. Computer Set-Up (Configure) Details

16. Terminfo and Termcap (detailed)

17. Using the Terminal

18. Special Uses for a Terminal

19. Trouble-Shooting

20. Repair & Diagnose

21. Appendix A: General

22. Appendix B: Escape Sequence Commands Terminology

23. Appendix C: Serial Communications on EIA-232 (RS-232)

24. Appendix D: Notes by Brand/Model

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