Ncurses

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ncurses is a programming library providing an API, allowing the programmer to write text user interfaces in a terminal-independent manner. It is a toolkit for developing "GUI-like" application software which run under a terminal emulator. It also optimizes screen changes, in order to reduce the latency experienced when using remote shells.

Contents

History

The "N" in ncurses is an abbreviation of the word "new." This is because ncurses is a free software emulation (clone) of the System V Release 4.0 (SVr4) curses, which was itself an enhancement over the discontinued classic 4.4 BSD curses.[1] The XSI Curses standard issued by X/Open is explicitly and closely modeled on System V.

curses

The first curses library was developed at the University of California at Berkeley, for a BSD operating system, around 1980 to support a screen-oriented game. It originally used the termcap library, which was used in other programs, such as the vi editor.[1]

The success of the BSD curses library prompted Bell Labs to release an enhanced curses library in their System III and System V Release 1 Unix systems. This library was more powerful and instead of using termcap, it used terminfo. However, due to AT&T policy regarding source-code distribution, this improved curses library didn't have much acceptance in the BSD community.[1]

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