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The Termcap Library

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1.5.3 Specifying Padding in a Terminal Description

In the terminal description, the amount of padding required by each display command is recorded as a sequence of digits at the front of the command. These digits specify the padding time in milliseconds (msec). They can be followed optionally by a decimal point and one more digit, which is a number of tenths of msec.

Sometimes the padding needed by a command depends on the cursor position. For example, the time taken by an "insert line" command is usually proportional to the number of lines that need to be moved down or cleared. An asterisk (`*') following the padding time says that the time should be multiplied by the number of screen lines affected by the command.


is used to describe the "insert line" command for a certain terminal. The padding required is 1.3 msec per line affected. The command itself is `ESC [ L'.

The padding time specified in this way tells tputs how many pad characters to output. See section 1.5.4 Performing Padding with tputs.

Two special capability values affect padding for all commands. These are the `pc' and `pb'. The variable `pc' specifies the character to pad with, and `pb' the speed below which no padding is needed. The defaults for these variables, a null character and 0, are correct for most terminals. See section 3.17 Padding Capabilities.

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