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Erase Unix Backspace Problem

  • By on February 10, 2009 | No Comments

    If a user on a UNIX machine has problems with his or her terminal settings, in such a way that full screen programs do not work or the backspace key just puts either ^H or ^? on the screen, then their terminal type, screen size or erase key needs to be set.

    Terminal type information is kept in the environment space and as a shell variable (meaning it will only affect that shell if you change it).

    The backspace key and screen size are part of the ioctl information for the tty.

    Setting the Backspace Key

    For the backspace key, it isn’t quite as easy.  The problem here is that there are two common backspace codes: backspace and delete.

    One is ^H, the other is ^?.  If you are having problems it is because your terminal program choose the one the system didn’t.

    The default cluster login scripts set it to ^H. One solution is to change the setting in the local terminal emulator.

    However there are many possible emulators and we can’t support them all.

    So, to fix this on the UNIX side, you have to type the following at the shell prompt:

    UNIX> stty erase ^?
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