Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!) - Debian

This is a discussion on Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!) - Debian ; Hi folks, I've brought this up in the past on debian-devel, but didn't follow through at the time. We have lots of X-based terminal programs (xterm, rxvt, gnome-terminal, konsole, ...) which Provide: x-terminal-emulator. That's great and useful, but the command ...

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Thread: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

  1. Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Hi folks,

    I've brought this up in the past on debian-devel, but didn't follow
    through at the time. We have lots of X-based terminal programs (xterm,
    rxvt, gnome-terminal, konsole, ...) which Provide:
    x-terminal-emulator. That's great and useful, but the command line
    interfaces to some of those have shifted over time and there is little
    remaining consistency. For programs like Seyon that want to use one of
    these terminal programs, there is no simple way to specify options
    such as the name to use for its window, and that has been the cause of
    several bugs over the years (#315945, #398508, #502001).

    I want to fix this, but do it right. I can see some options here:

    1. Force all seyon users to install xterm by using a direct
    dependency on *just* xterm and call it instead of
    x-terminal-emulator

    2. Work out a standard set of command line options that must be
    supported by each package that Provides: x-terminal-emulator

    3. Write a wrapper script to deal with each possible terminal program
    and map from a standard set of options to the specific options for
    that program.

    Ideally, I'd like us to do a combination of #2 and #3: work out the
    standard set of options, and have each package provide a wrapper
    script as necessary to support those options.

    Thoughts?

    --
    Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK. steve@einval.com
    Who needs computer imagery when you've got Brian Blessed?


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  2. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Hi,

    Steve McIntyre wrote:

    >
    > I want to fix this, but do it right. I can see some options here:
    >
    > 1. Force all seyon users to install xterm by using a direct
    > dependency on *just* xterm and call it instead of
    > x-terminal-emulator
    >
    > 2. Work out a standard set of command line options that must be
    > supported by each package that Provides: x-terminal-emulator


    I don't think it is feasible.

    >
    > 3. Write a wrapper script to deal with each possible terminal program
    > and map from a standard set of options to the specific options for
    > that program.


    I'd go this way, letting each terminal emulator ship a shell (or bash, or
    perl, or whatever; depends on the language used on the wrapper) script
    implementing the arguments conversion for its own terminal.

    Pros:

    * This reduces the amount of work required by the maintainer of the package
    providing such a wrapper.
    * The wrapper script could be shipped in debianutils (Essential: yes)
    without making it add any kind of strong dependency on x-terminal-emulator.

    (Pseudo) Cons:

    * Puts a requirement to ship such a "complementing" script to every package
    that Provides: x-terminal-emulator.

    >
    > Thoughts?
    >


    Cheers,
    Raphael Geissert


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  3. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Excerpts from Steve McIntyre's message of Sun Oct 12 13:12:03 -0400 2008:

    > Ideally, I'd like us to do a combination of #2 and #3: work out the
    > standard set of options, and have each package provide a wrapper
    > script as necessary to support those options.


    I'd be happy to do this for rxvt-unicode (it has always kind of bugged
    me that we don't recognize -geom). However, if these wrapper scripts
    are, as I would assume, shell scripts, there is an issue in some setups
    with those shells incrementing SHLVL. See #500703[1] for a variety of
    opinions. I'm still not sure what the best course of action would be,
    but with this approach every terminal emulator would potentially be
    affected.

    [1] http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=500703
    --
    things change.
    decklin@red-bean.com


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  4. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    On 2008-10-12, Steve McIntyre wrote:
    > I've brought this up in the past on debian-devel, but didn't follow
    > through at the time. We have lots of X-based terminal programs (xterm,
    > rxvt, gnome-terminal, konsole, ...) which Provide:
    > x-terminal-emulator. That's great and useful, but the command line
    > interfaces to some of those have shifted over time and there is little
    > remaining consistency. For programs like Seyon that want to use one of
    > these terminal programs, there is no simple way to specify options
    > such as the name to use for its window, and that has been the cause of
    > several bugs over the years (#315945, #398508, #502001).
    >
    > I want to fix this, but do it right. I can see some options here:
    >
    > 1. Force all seyon users to install xterm by using a direct
    > dependency on *just* xterm and call it instead of
    > x-terminal-emulator
    >
    > 2. Work out a standard set of command line options that must be
    > supported by each package that Provides: x-terminal-emulator
    >
    > 3. Write a wrapper script to deal with each possible terminal program
    > and map from a standard set of options to the specific options for
    > that program.
    >
    > Ideally, I'd like us to do a combination of #2 and #3: work out the
    > standard set of options, and have each package provide a wrapper
    > script as necessary to support those options.
    >
    > Thoughts?


    I dont think supporting title and stuff should be required for providing
    x-terminal-emulator. I think we could require to handle -e properly, but
    not much more than that.

    /sune


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  5. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Sune wrote:
    >On 2008-10-12, Steve McIntyre wrote:
    >>
    >> 3. Write a wrapper script to deal with each possible terminal program
    >> and map from a standard set of options to the specific options for
    >> that program.
    >>
    >> Ideally, I'd like us to do a combination of #2 and #3: work out the
    >> standard set of options, and have each package provide a wrapper
    >> script as necessary to support those options.
    >>
    >> Thoughts?

    >
    >I dont think supporting title and stuff should be required for providing
    >x-terminal-emulator. I think we could require to handle -e properly, but
    >not much more than that.


    Out of curiosity, why not support setting of title etc.? That's the
    main thing I'm considering here, in fact...

    --
    Steve McIntyre, Cambridge, UK. steve@einval.com
    "This dress doesn't reverse." -- Alden Spiess


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  6. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    On Sun, Oct 12, 2008 at 06:12:03PM +0100, Steve McIntyre wrote:
    > I want to fix this, but do it right. I can see some options here:


    The initiative is interesting, and exactly one of those in which
    distributions can help out upstreams.

    Still, I propose an alternative approach. What about starting by
    listing the options you (as you seems to have experience in this
    issue) think should be supported by all terminals. Then, for each
    implementation we have (i.e., each package providing
    x-terminal-emulator) we should list if they have that option and which
    is its semantics.

    Having such a list will make clear which approach is the better.

    My 0.02€,
    Cheers

    --
    Stefano Zacchiroli -*- PhD in Computer Science \ PostDoc @ Univ. Paris 7
    zack@{upsilon.cc,pps.jussieu.fr,debian.org} -<>- http://upsilon.cc/zack/
    I'm still an SGML person,this newfangled /\ All one has to do is hit the
    XML stuff is so ... simplistic -- Manoj \/ right keys at the right time

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  7. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    On 2008-10-12, Steve McIntyre wrote:
    > Sune wrote:
    >>I dont think supporting title and stuff should be required for providing
    >>x-terminal-emulator. I think we could require to handle -e properly, but
    >>not much more than that.

    >
    > Out of curiosity, why not support setting of title etc.? That's the
    > main thing I'm considering here, in fact...


    I don't know if I see the need for setting the title at all?

    /Sune


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  8. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Sune Vuorela, le Mon 13 Oct 2008 05:34:25 +0000, a écrit :
    > On 2008-10-12, Steve McIntyre wrote:
    > > Sune wrote:
    > >>I dont think supporting title and stuff should be required for providing
    > >>x-terminal-emulator. I think we could require to handle -e properly, but
    > >>not much more than that.

    > >
    > > Out of curiosity, why not support setting of title etc.? That's the
    > > main thing I'm considering here, in fact...

    >
    > I don't know if I see the need for setting the title at all?


    When you have a bunch of windows, it's quite useful to be able to find
    out the one you want in just a window list.

    Samuel


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  9. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    Steve McIntyre :
    >
    > I've brought this up in the past on debian-devel, but didn't follow
    > through at the time. We have lots of X-based terminal programs (xterm,
    > rxvt, gnome-terminal, konsole, ...) which Provide:
    > x-terminal-emulator. That's great and useful, but the command line
    > interfaces to some of those have shifted over time and there is little
    > remaining consistency. For programs like Seyon that want to use one of
    > these terminal programs, there is no simple way to specify options
    > such as the name to use for its window, and that has been the cause of
    > several bugs over the years (#315945, #398508, #502001).
    >
    > I want to fix this, but do it right. I can see some options here:
    >
    > 1. Force all seyon users to install xterm by using a direct
    > dependency on *just* xterm and call it instead of
    > x-terminal-emulator
    >
    > 2. Work out a standard set of command line options that must be
    > supported by each package that Provides: x-terminal-emulator
    >
    > 3. Write a wrapper script to deal with each possible terminal program
    > and map from a standard set of options to the specific options for
    > that program.
    >
    > Ideally, I'd like us to do a combination of #2 and #3: work out the


    Just curious, but why 2 & 3? Why isn't 1 considered the simplest
    solution? xterm is ca. 300k. What Seyon users can't afford 300k disk
    space or its RSS?

    vi's installed on every *nix box on the planet. Why shouldn't xterm
    be on every X install on the planet? My /usr/bin/vim.basic is 1.3 Mb.

    1 seems a far more robust solution to me.


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    - - http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1855.html Please, don't Cc: me.


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  10. Re: Terminal emulators and command line arguments (again!)

    On Mon,20.Oct.08, 00:51:03, s. keeling wrote:

    > Just curious, but why 2 & 3? Why isn't 1 considered the simplest
    > solution? xterm is ca. 300k. What Seyon users can't afford 300k disk
    > space or its RSS?
    >
    > vi's installed on every *nix box on the planet. Why shouldn't xterm
    > be on every X install on the planet? My /usr/bin/vim.basic is 1.3 Mb.
    >
    > 1 seems a far more robust solution to me.


    Because it brings benefits to all users, not just users of seyon. I
    recently went (again) through experimenting with different terminal
    emulators and it was pretty annoying that all my keyboard shortcuts
    (based on x-terminal-emulator!) didn't work because one or the other
    wouldn't support some command-line options.

    Regards,
    Andrei
    --
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.
    (Albert Einstein)

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