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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Compiling ncurses

Compiling ncurses library

What is ncurses?

ncurses is a library written in C that provides API for running applications in a terminal.

See https://www.gnu.org/software/ncurses/

Why should I use it?

If you want to write an application that uses the terminal as its output, you should use it instead of trying to manipulate text in terminal by yourself. e.g Vim uses it to allow you to edit and view your files.

Step 1: Download ncurses

Go to the ncurses page and download the library.
For this tutorial I'll use ncurses 6.0

I usually put all source code in $HOME/src directory 

Make ncurses directory under src

carmel@carmel:~$ cd src/
carmel@carmel:~/src$ mkdir ncurses
carmel@carmel:~/src$ cd ncurses/
carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses$ NDIR=`pwd`

From now on $NDIR will be the ncurses source code directory.

Download ncurses

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses$ wget http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/ncurses/ncurses-6.0.tar.gz

Extract the files:

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses$ tar -xvzf ncurses-6.0.tar.gz
carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses$ cd ncurses-6.0/
carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ ll

Take a look around.. If you want to learn more about the installation process, you should read the INSTALL file, its very interesting.
You should also run

./configure --help

Take a look in the configuration options and see if you need something that is not covered here.

Step 2: Configure


Due to this issue we need to export a cpp flag

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ export CPPFLAGS="-P"


Use prefix option to configure changes the root directory for installing ncurses.  The default is normally in subdirectories of /usr/local.

    The package gets installed beneath the --prefix directory as follows:

    In $(prefix)/bin:          tic, infocmp, captoinfo, tset,
reset, clear, tput, toe, tabs
    In $(prefix)/lib:          libncurses*.* libcurses.a
    In $(prefix)/share/terminfo: compiled terminal descriptions
    In $(prefix)/include:      C header files
    Under $(prefix)/man:       the manual pages

I'll install ncurses under the prefix $HOME. 

With the --prefix option, the ./configure command should look like this now:

./configure --prefix=$HOME


Use the --with-shared option to generate shared-libraries. This is useful if you want to compile other programs with the ncurses library.

Now, with the --with-shared option the ./configure command should look like this:

./configure --prefix=$HOME --with-shared

Run the configuration..

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ ./configure --prefix=$HOME --with-shared

The last lines of the output should look like:

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ ./configure --prefix=$HOME --with-shared
** Configuration summary for NCURSES 6.0 20150808:

       extended funcs: yes
       xterm terminfo: xterm-new

        bin directory: /home/carmel/bin
        lib directory: /home/carmel/lib
    include directory: /home/carmel/include/ncurses
        man directory: /home/carmel/share/man
   terminfo directory: /home/carmel/share/terminfo

** Include-directory is not in a standard location

If you got an error then post a comment here describing the error and I'll add it into a 'Troubleshooting' section.

Step 3: make


carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ make

Step 4: make install


carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ make install


Error in make

After running
you get the following error:
In file included from ./curses.priv.h:325:0,
                 from ../ncurses/lib_gen.c:19:
_10346.c:843:15: error: expected ‘)’ before ‘int’
../include/curses.h:1631:56: note: in definition of macro ‘mouse_trafo’
 #define mouse_trafo(y,x,to_screen) wmouse_trafo(stdscr,y,x,to_screen)

this is a known issue with mawk program. see this for more details
Go through step 2 again. make sure you run

carmel@carmel:~/src/ncurses/ncurses-6.0$ export CPPFLAGS="-P"

BEFORE you configure