Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)

FreeBSD Manual Pages


home | help
WINDOW(1)		  BSD General Commands Manual		     WINDOW(1)

     window -- window environment

     window [-dft] [-c command]	[-e escape-char]

     window implements a window	environment on ASCII terminals.

     Please note that window is	scheduled for removal on NetBSD	7.0.  This is
     the last NetBSD release that provides window.  Use	tmux(1)	instead, or
     install the pkgsrc/misc/window package from pkgsrc(7).

     A window is a rectangular portion of the physical terminal	screen associ-
     ated with a set of	processes.  Its	size and position can be changed by
     the user at any time.  Processes communicate with their window in the
     same way they normally interact with a terminal-through their standard
     input, output, and	diagnostic file	descriptors.  The window program han-
     dles the details of redirecting input and output to and from the windows.
     At	any one	time, only one window can receive input	from the keyboard, but
     all windows can simultaneously send output	to the display.

     When window starts	up, the	commands (see long commands below) contained
     in	the file .windowrc in the user's home directory	are executed.  If it
     does not exist, two equal sized windows spanning the terminal screen are
     created by	default.

     The command-line options are:

     -c	command	 Execute the string command as a long command (see below) be-
		 fore doing anything else.

     -d		 Ignore	.windowrc and create the two default windows instead.

     -e	escape-char
		 Set the escape	character to escape-char.  Escape-char can be
		 a single character, or	in the form ^X where X is any charac-
		 ter, meaning control-X.

     -f		 Fast.	Don't perform any startup action.

     -t		 Turn on terse mode (see terse command below).

     Windows can overlap and are framed	as necessary.  Each window is named by
     one of the	digits "1" to "9".  This one-character identifier, as well as
     a user definable label string, are	displayed with the window on the top
     edge of its frame.	 A window can be designated to be in the foreground,
     in	which case it will always be on	top of all normal, non-foreground win-
     dows, and can be covered only by other foreground windows.	 A window need
     not be completely within the edges	of the terminal	screen.	 Thus a	large
     window (possibly larger than the screen) may be positioned	to show	only a
     portion of	its full size.

     Each window has a cursor and a set	of control functions.  Most intelli-
     gent terminal operations such as line and character deletion and inser-
     tion are supported.  Display modes	such as	underlining and	reverse	video
     are available if they are supported by the	terminal.  In addition,	simi-
     lar to terminals with multiple pages of memory, each window has a text
     buffer which can have more	lines than the window itself.

   Process Environment
     With each newly created window, a shell program is	spawned	with its
     process environment tailored to that window.  Its standard	input, output,
     and diagnostic file descriptors are bound to one end of either a pseudo-
     terminal (see pty(4)) or a	UNIX domain socket (see	socketpair(2)).	 If a
     pseudo-terminal is	used, then its special characters and modes (see
     stty(1)) are copied from the physical terminal.  A	termcap(5) entry tai-
     lored to this window is created and passed	as environment (see
     environ(7)) variable TERMCAP.  The	termcap	entry contains the window's
     size and characteristics as well as information from the physical termi-
     nal, such as the existence	of underline, reverse video, and other display
     modes, and	the codes produced by the terminal's function keys, if any.
     In	addition, the window size attributes of	the pseudo-terminal are	set to
     reflect the size of this window, and updated whenever it is changed by
     the user.	In particular, the editor vi(1)	uses this information to re-
     draw its display.

     During normal execution, window can be in one of two states: conversation
     mode and command mode.  In	conversation mode, the terminal's real cursor
     is	placed at the cursor position of a particular window--called the cur-
     rent window--and input from the keyboard is sent to the process in	that
     window.  The current window is always on top of all other windows,	except
     those in foreground.  In addition,	it is set apart	by highlighting	its
     identifier	and label in reverse video.

     Typing window's escape character (normally	^P) in conversation mode
     switches it into command mode.  In	command	mode, the top line of the ter-
     minal screen becomes the command prompt window, and window	interprets in-
     put from the keyboard as commands to manipulate windows.

     There are two types of commands: short commands are usually one or	two
     key strokes; long commands	are strings either typed by the	user in	the
     command window (see the ":" command below), or read from a	file (see
     source below).

   Short Commands
     Below, # represents one of	the digits "1" to "9" corresponding to the
     windows 1 to 9.  ^X means control-X, where	X is any character.  In	par-
     ticular, ^^ is control-^.	Escape is the escape key, or ^[.

     #	     Select window # as	the current window and return to conversation

     %#	     Select window # but stay in command mode.

     ^^	     Select the	previous window	and return to conversation mode.  This
	     is	useful for toggling between two	windows.

     escape  Return to conversation mode.

     ^P	     Return to conversation mode and write ^P to the current window.
	     Thus, typing two ^P's in conversation mode	sends one to the cur-
	     rent window.  If the window escape	is changed to some other char-
	     acter, that character takes the place of ^P here.

     ?	     List a short summary of commands.

     ^L	     Refresh the screen.

     q	     Exit window.  Confirmation	is requested.

     ^Z	     Suspend window.

     w	     Create a new window.  The user is prompted	for the	positions of
	     the upper left and	lower right corners of the window.  The	cursor
	     is	placed on the screen and the keys "h", "j", "k", and "l" move
	     the cursor	left, down, up,	and right, respectively.  The keys
	     "H", "J", "K", and	"L" move the cursor to the respective limits
	     of	the screen.  Typing a number before the	movement keys repeats
	     the movement that number of times.	 Return	enters the cursor po-
	     sition as the upper left corner of	the window.  The lower right
	     corner is entered in the same manner.  During this	process, the
	     placement of the new window is indicated by a rectangular box
	     drawn on the screen, corresponding	to where the new window	will
	     be	framed.	 Typing	escape at any point cancels this command.

	     This window becomes the current window, and is given the first
	     available ID.  The	default	buffer size is used (see default_nline
	     command below).

	     Only fully	visible	windows	can be created this way.

     c#	     Close window #.  The process in the window	is sent	the hangup
	     signal (see kill(1)).  csh(1) should handle this signal correctly
	     and cause no problems.

     m#	     Move window # to another location.	 A box in the shape of the
	     window is drawn on	the screen to indicate the new position	of the
	     window, and the same keys as those	for the	w command are used to
	     position the box.	The window can be moved	partially off-screen.

     M#	     Move window # to its previous position.

     s#	     Change the	size of	window #.  The user is prompted	to enter the
	     new lower right corner of the window.  A box is drawn to indicate
	     the new window size.  The same keys used in w and m are used to
	     enter the position.

     S#	     Change window # to	its previous size.

     ^Y	     Scroll the	current	window up by one line.

     ^E	     Scroll the	current	window down by one line.

     ^U	     Scroll the	current	window up by half the window size.

     ^D	     Scroll the	current	window down by half the	window size.

     ^B	     Scroll the	current	window up by the full window size.

     ^F	     Scroll the	current	window down by the full	window size.

     h	     Move the cursor of	the current window left	by one column.

     j	     Move the cursor of	the current window down	by one line.

     k	     Move the cursor of	the current window up by one line.

     l	     Move the cursor of	the current window right by one	column.

     y	     Yank.  The	user is	prompted to enter two points within the	cur-
	     rent window.  Then	the content of the current window between
	     those two points is saved in the yank buffer.

     p	     Put.  The content of the yank buffer is written to	the current
	     window as input.

     ^S	     Stop output in the	current	window.

     ^Q	     Start output in the current window.

     :	     Enter a line to be	executed as long commands.  Normal line	edit-
	     ing characters (erase character, erase word, erase	line) are sup-

   Long	Commands
     Long commands are a sequence of statements	parsed much like a programming
     language, with a syntax similar to	that of	C.  Numeric and	string expres-
     sions and variables are supported,	as well	as conditional statements.

     There are two data	types: string and number.  A string is a sequence of
     letters or	digits beginning with a	letter.	 "_" and "." are considered
     letters.  Alternatively, non-alphanumeric characters can be included in
     strings by	quoting	them in	double (""") quotes or escaping	them with
     backslash ("\").  In addition, the	"\" sequences of C are supported, both
     inside and	outside	quotes (e.g., "\n" is a	new line, "\r" a carriage re-
     turn).  For example, these	are legal strings: abcde01234, "&#$^*&#",
     ab"$#"cd, ab\$\#cd, "/usr/ucb/window".

     A number is an integer value in one of three forms: a decimal number, an
     octal number preceded by "0", or a	hexadecimal number preceded by "0x" or
     "0X".  The	natural	machine	integer	size is	used (i.e., the	signed integer
     type of the C compiler).  As in C,	a non-zero number represents a boolean

     The character "#" begins a	comment	which terminates at the	end of the

     A statement is either a conditional or an expression.  Expression state-
     ments are terminated with a new line or ";".  To continue an expression
     on	the next line, terminate the first line	with "\".

   Conditional Statement
     window has	a single control structure: the	fully bracketed	if statement
     in	the form

	   if <expr> then
	   elsif <expr>	then

     The else and elsif	parts are optional, and	the latter can be repeated any
     number of times.  <Expr> must be numeric.

     Expressions in window are similar to those	in the C language, with	most C
     operators supported on numeric operands.  In addition, some are over-
     loaded to operate on strings.

     When an expression	is used	as a statement,	its value is discarded after
     evaluation.  Therefore, only expressions with side	effects	(assignments
     and function calls) are useful as statements.

     Single valued (no arrays) variables are supported,	of both	numeric	and
     string values.  Some variables are	predefined.  They are listed below.

     The operators in order of increasing precedence:

     <expr1> = <expr2>
		 Assignment.  The variable of name <expr1>, which must be
		 string	valued,	is assigned the	result of <expr2>.  Returns
		 the value of <expr2>.

     <expr1> ? <expr2>:	<expr3>
		 Returns the value of <expr2> if <expr1> evaluates true	(non-
		 zero numeric value); returns the value	of <expr3> otherwise.
		 Only one of <expr2> and <expr3> is evaluated.	<Expr1>	must
		 be numeric.

     <expr1> ||	<expr2>
		 Logical or.  Numeric values only.  Short circuit evaluation
		 is supported (i.e., if	<expr1>	evaluates true,	then <expr2>
		 is not	evaluated).

     <expr1> &&	<expr2>
		 Logical and with short	circuit	evaluation.  Numeric values

     <expr1> | <expr2>
		 Bitwise or.  Numeric values only.

     <expr1> ^ <expr2>
		 Bitwise exclusive or.	Numeric	values only.

     <expr1> & <expr2>
		 Bitwise and.  Numeric values only.

     <expr1> ==	<expr2>, <expr1> != <expr2>
		 Comparison (equal and not equal, respectively).  The boolean
		 result	(either	1 or 0)	of the comparison is returned.	The
		 operands can be numeric or string valued.  One	string operand
		 forces	the other to be	converted to a string in necessary.

     <expr1> < <expr2>,	<expr1>	> <expr2>, <expr1> <= <expr2>,
		 Less than, greater than, less than or equal to, greater than
		 or equal to.  Both numeric and	string values, with automatic
		 conversion as above.

     <expr1> <<	<expr2>, <expr1> >> <expr2>
		 If both operands are numbers, <expr1> is bit shifted left (or
		 right)	by <expr2> bits.  If <expr1> is	a string, then its
		 first (or last) <expr2> characters are	returns	(if <expr2> is
		 also a	string,	then its length	is used	in place of its

     <expr1> + <expr2>,	<expr1>	- <expr2>
		 Addition and subtraction on numbers.  For "+",	if one argu-
		 ment is a string, then	the other is converted to a string,
		 and the result	is the concatenation of	the two	strings.

     <expr1> * <expr2>,	<expr1>	/ <expr2>, <expr1> % <expr2>
		 Multiplication, division, modulo.  Numbers only.

     -<expr>, ~<expr>, !<expr>,	$<expr>, $?<expr>
		 The first three are unary minus, bitwise complement and logi-
		 cal complement	on numbers only.  The operator,	"$", takes
		 <expr>	and returns the	value of the variable of that name.
		 If <expr> is numeric with value n and it appears within an
		 alias macro (see below), then it refers to the	nth argument
		 of the	alias invocation.  "$?"	tests for the existence	of the
		 variable <expr>, and returns 1	if it exists or	0 otherwise.

		 Function call.	 <Expr>	must be	a string that is the unique
		 prefix	of the name of a builtin window	function or the	full
		 name of a user	defined	alias macro.  In the case of a builtin
		 function, <arglist> can be in one of two forms:

		       <expr1>,	<expr2>, ...
		       argname1	= <expr1>, argname2 = <expr2>, ...

		 The two forms can in fact be intermixed, but the result is
		 unpredictable.	 Most arguments	can be omitted;	default	values
		 will be supplied for them.  The argnames can be unique	pre-
		 fixes of the argument names.  The commas separating arguments
		 are used only to disambiguate,	and can	usually	be omitted.

		 Only the first	argument form is valid for user	defined
		 aliases.  Aliases are defined using the alias builtin func-
		 tion (see below).  Arguments are accessed via a variant of
		 the variable mechanism	(see "$" operator above).

		 Most functions	return value, but some are used	for side ef-
		 fect only and so must be used as statements.  When a function
		 or an alias is	used as	a statement, the parentheses surround-
		 ing the argument list may be omitted.	Aliases	return no

   Builtin Functions
     The arguments are listed by name in their natural order.  Optional	argu-
     ments are in square brackets `[]' Arguments that have no names are	in an-
     gle brackets `<>'.	 An argument meant to be a boolean flag	(often named
     flag) can be one of on, off, yes, no, true, or false, with	obvious	mean-
     ings, or it can be	a numeric expression, in which case a non-zero value
     is	true.

     alias([<string>], [<string-list>])
		 If no argument	is given, all currently	defined	alias macros
		 are listed.  Otherwise, <string> is defined as	an alias, with
		 expansion <string-list	_>.  The previous definition of
		 <string>, if any, is returned.	 Default for <string-list> is
		 no change.

		 Close the windows specified in	<window-list>.	If
		 <window-list> is the word all,	than all windows are closed.
		 No value is returned.

		 Set the window	cursor to modes.  Modes	is the bitwise or of
		 the mode bits defined as the variables	m_ul (underline),
		 m_rev (reverse	video),	m_blk (blinking), and m_grp (graphics,
		 terminal dependent).  Return value is the previous modes.
		 Default is no change.	For example, cursor($m_rev$m_blk) sets
		 the window cursors to blinking	reverse	video.

		 Set the default buffer	size to	nline.	Initially, it is 48
		 lines.	 Returns the old default buffer	size.  Default is no
		 change.  Using	a very large buffer can	slow the program down

		 Set the default window	shell program to <string-list>.	 Re-
		 turns the first string	in the old shell setting.  Default is
		 no change.  Initially,	the default shell is taken from	the
		 environment variable SHELL.

		 Set the default value of the smooth argument to the command
		 window	(see below).  The argument is a	boolean	flag (one of
		 on, off, yes, no, true, false,	or a number, as	described
		 above).  Default is no	change.	 The old value (as a number)
		 is returned.  The initial value is 1 (true).

     echo([window], [<string-list>])
		 Write the list	of strings, <string-list>, to window, sepa-
		 rated by spaces and terminated	with a new line.  The strings
		 are only displayed in the window, the processes in the	window
		 are not involved (see write below).  No value is returned.
		 Default is the	current	window.

		 Set the escape	character to escape-char.  Returns the old es-
		 cape character	as a one-character string.  Default is no
		 change.  Escapec can be a string of a single character, or in
		 the form -^X, meaning control-X.

     foreground([window], [flag])
		 Move window in	or out of foreground.  Flag is a boolean
		 value.	 The old foreground flag is returned.  Default for
		 window	is the current window, default for flag	is no change.

     label([window], [label])
		 Set the label of window to label.  Returns the	old label as a
		 string.  Default for window is	the current window, default
		 for label is no change.  To turn off a	label, set it to an
		 empty string ("").

     list()	 No arguments.	List the identifiers and labels	of all win-
		 dows.	No value is returned.

		 Make window the current window.  The previous current window
		 is returned.  Default is no change.

		 Read and execute the long commands in filename.  Returns -1
		 if the	file cannot be read, 0 otherwise.

		 Set terse mode	to flag.  In terse mode, the command window
		 stays hidden even in command mode, and	errors are reported by
		 sounding the terminal's bell.	Flag can take on the same val-
		 ues as	in foreground above.  Returns the old terse flag.  De-
		 fault is no change.

		 Undefine alias.  Returns -1 if	alias does not exist, 0	other-

		 Undefine variable.  Returns -1	if variable does not exist, 0

		 No arguments.	List all variables.  No	value is returned.

     window([row], [column], [nrow], [ncol], [nline], [label], [pty], [frame],
		 [mapnl], [keepopen], [smooth],	[shell]).
		 Open a	window with upper left corner at row, column and size
		 nrow, ncol.  If nline is specified, then that many lines are
		 allocated for the text	buffer.	 Otherwise, the	default	buffer
		 size is used.	Default	values for row,	column,	nrow, and ncol
		 are, respectively, the	upper, left-most, lower, or right-most
		 extremes of the screen.  Label	is the label string.  Frame,
		 pty, and mapnl	are flag values	interpreted in the same	way as
		 the argument to foreground (see above); they mean, respec-
		 tively, put a frame around this window	(default true),	allo-
		 cate pseudo-terminal for this window rather than socketpair
		 (default true), and map new line characters in	this window to
		 carriage return and line feed (default	true if	socketpair is
		 used, false otherwise).  Normally, a window is	automatically
		 closed	when its process exits.	 Setting keepopen to true (de-
		 fault false) prevents this action.  When smooth is true, the
		 screen	is updated more	frequently (for	this window) to	pro-
		 duce a	more terminal-like behavior.  The default value	of
		 smooth	is set by the default_smooth command (see above).
		 Shell is a list of strings that will be used as the shell
		 program to place in the window	(default is the	program	speci-
		 fied by default_shell,	see above).  The created window's
		 identifier is returned	as a number.

     write([window], [<string-list>])
		 Send the list of strings, <string-list>, to window, separated
		 by spaces but not terminated with a new line.	The strings
		 are actually given to the window as input.  No	value is re-
		 turned.  Default is the current window.

   Predefined Variables
     These variables are for information only.	Redefining them	does not af-
     fect the internal operation of window.

     baud   The	baud rate as a number between 50 and 38400.

     modes  The	display	modes (reverse video, underline, blinking, graphics)
	    supported by the physical terminal.	 The value of modes is the
	    bitwise or of some of the one bit values, m_blk, m_grp, m_rev, and
	    m_ul (see below).  These values are	useful in setting the window
	    cursors' modes (see	cursormodes above).

     m_blk  The	blinking mode bit.

     m_grp  The	graphics mode bit (not very useful).

     m_rev  The	reverse	video mode bit.

     m_ul   The	underline mode bit.

     ncol   The	number of columns on the physical screen.

     nrow   The	number of rows on the physical screen.

     term   The	terminal type.	The standard name, found in the	second name
	    field of the terminal's TERMCAP entry, is used.

     window uses these environment variables: HOME, SHELL, TERM, TERMCAP,

     ~/.windowrc       startup command file.
     /dev/[pt]ty[pq]?  pseudo-terminal devices.

     The following example ~/.windowrc will open two windows.  The upper one
     will take one third of the	screen and run tcpdump,	the lower one will
     take the remaining	two thirds of the screen and run the default shell:

     window r=1, nr=$nrow/3-1, l=tcpdump\ pcn0,	sh=tcpdump \-ni	pcn0
     window r=$nrow/3, nr=2*$nrow/3+1

     Should be self explanatory.


     The window	command	appeared in 4.3BSD.

BSD				August 13, 2011				   BSD


Want to link to this manual page? Use this URL:

home | help