[nycbug-talk] terminals, telnet, blast from past

Charles Sprickman spork at bway.net
Wed Aug 29 04:05:38 EDT 2007

On Tue, 28 Aug 2007, Miles Nordin wrote:

>>>>>> "cs" == Charles Sprickman <spork at bway.net> writes:
>    cs> dealing with people coming in with the windows telnet client
>    cs> and trying to run "pine",
> TERM=ansi is best for Windows telnet, but really it is pretty
> hopeless.  I think it would be better to tell them to run a Java ssh
> client if they refuse to install anything.

This is one of the areas where it gets weird.  Using the same telnet 
client, you can telnet in to the old box (OpenBSD 2.mumble, really...) and 
echoing "$TERM" gives ansi.  Same thing on the new box (FreeBSD 6.2).  On 
the old box the user can type "pine" and it works.  On the new box, pine 
complains that the terminal type "ansi" lacks required capabilities or 
some such and exits.  There's no compile-time options in pine to alter 
terminal support.

This is where I entered the rabbit hole...

> http://web.Ivy.NET/~carton/telnet/
> If backspace doesn't work in cooked mode (try 'cat > /dev/null' and
> see if it works there.  'bash' will work with either backspace, even
> if you're misconfigured.), then you need to run 'stty erase ^?' or
> 'stty erase ^H'.  You can type carat ? or carat space on the stty
> command line.

Well, I think I probably have a solution to the non-pine problems.  I used 
to take loving care of a shell server at the last ISP I worked at.  We had 
actual shell users that demanded all sorts of odd software and they 
actually used it.  There were all sorts of login scripts for each shell 
that did a really good job of "fixing up" weird telnet/ssh clients that 
had problems in their default configs or were just broken.  This stuff was 
originally started and maintained by some of the best unix admins I'd ever 
met.  They were the type of guys that would not hesitate to "whip 
something up in C" to make their jobs easier - they were admins and they 
were also quite decent coders.

So my plan is to snarf what I contributed to from that shell server, which 
is still running, and see if that will bring back some memories about this 
stuff I really wanted to forget.

Of course being the paranoid that I am, I had a "*" in the password field 
of the master.passwd file so that I could only come in with an ssh key. 
At some point they seem to have turned off rsa/dsa key auth.  So now I 
have to ask the new owners nicely if they can reset my password... :)



> In general fixing with stty isn't okay.  You absolutely need to
> arrange for the backspace key on your terminal to send ^?, because ^H
> is already bound to the Help key in emacs, so it is not okay to reuse
> it as a backspace.  Then, you won't be able to use help in emacs,
> unless you manually reconfigure emacs which will make it unlike emacs
> on other Unixes and seriously piss people off.  ^?  is right, and ^H
> is simply wrong.  Even things like the FreeBSD console get this wrong.

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