Introduction to xterm

xterm is a terminal emulator for the X Window System.

Package Information

xterm Dependencies


Xorg Libraries


luit-1.0.2 (required in non-UTF-8 locales if the user wants TrueType fonts, and always required in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean locales). Configuration instructions below assume that Luit is installed.

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/Xterm

Installation of xterm

Install xterm by running the following commands:

sed -i '/v0/,+1s/new:/new:kb=^?:/' termcap &&
echo -e '\tkbs=\\177,' >>terminfo &&
TERMINFO=/usr/lib/terminfo ./configure $XORG_CONFIG \
    --enable-luit --enable-wide-chars \
    --with-app-defaults=$XORG_PREFIX/share/X11/app-defaults &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
make install-ti

Command Explanations

sed -i ... termcap, echo ... >>terminfo: these commands modify the terminal description, so that the Backspace key is expected to send the character with ASCII code 127, for consistency with the Linux console.

TERMINFO=/usr/lib/terminfo: This ensures that the xterm terminfo file is installed to the system terminfo database when the installation prefix is not /usr.

--with-app-defaults=...: Sets the location for the app-defaults directory.

--enable-luit: Enables the luit filter for translation between Unicode (used by xterm internally in the configuration below) and the locale encoding. If luit is not found in the PATH, the default of /usr/X11R6/bin/luit will be used.

--enable-wide-chars: Adds support for wide characters.

make install-ti: This command installs corrected terminfo description files for use with xterm.

Configuring xterm

There are two ways to configure xterm. You can add X resource definitions to the user's ~/.Xresources file, or add them to the system-wide $XORG_PREFIX/share/X11/app-defaults/Xterm file.

In order for xterm to follow the locale settings in the environment, use TrueType fonts, and follow the Linux convention about the code sent by the Backspace key, add the following definitions as the root user:

cat >> $XORG_PREFIX/share/X11/app-defaults/XTerm << "EOF"
*VT100*locale: true
*VT100*faceName: Monospace
*VT100*faceSize: 10
*backarrowKeyIsErase: true
*ptyInitialErase: true


Installed Programs: resize, uxterm, and xterm

Short Descriptions


prints a shell command for setting the TERM and TERMCAP environment variables to indicate the current size of xterm window.


is a wrapper script that modifies the current locale to use UTF-8 and starts xterm with the proper settings.


is a terminal emulator for the X Window System.

Last updated on 2008-05-09 07:42:27 -0500