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9.11.2 The environment variable TERM

The environment variable TERM contains a identifier for the text window's capabilities. You can get a detailed list of these cababilities by using the ‘infocmp’ command, using ‘man 5 terminfo’ as a reference.

When producing text with embedded color directives, msgcat looks at the TERM variable. Text windows today typically support at least 8 colors. Often, however, the text window supports 16 or more colors, even though the TERM variable is set to a identifier denoting only 8 supported colors. It can be worth setting the TERM variable to a different value in these cases:

xterm
xterm is in most cases built with support for 16 colors. It can also be built with support for 88 or 256 colors (but not both). You can try to set TERM to either xterm-16color, xterm-88color, or xterm-256color.
rxvt
rxvt is often built with support for 16 colors. You can try to set TERM to rxvt-16color.
konsole
konsole too is often built with support for 16 colors. You can try to set TERM to konsole-16color or xterm-16color.

After setting TERM, you can verify it by invoking ‘msgcat --color=test’ and seeing whether the output looks like a reasonable color map.