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Re: emacs - Cannot open termcap database file


Based on you saying that you're a linux and debian newbie, perhaps you should use the debian binary packages?

To install emacs 21.4a-1, just `apt-get install emacs21`.

Now if you want the 21.4a-tarball one from gnu.org for a particular reason, that's another story :) Perhaps `apt-get install termcap-compat` (not that I've tried it, but it looked like a reasonable package from `apt-cache search termcap`)..

Eric Mohler wrote:
Hi - I'm new to the list and new to debian.

I've downloaded an emacs-21.4a tarball from and gnu.org <http://gnu.org/> and tried to install on my laptop into /usr/local/bin. The ./configure yields a number of "failed program" warnings but seemed in general to terminate without incident BUT I see the error " termcap.h: No such file or directory". Sure nuff I confirm no termcap.h anywhere on my system. Still, I proceed with make not knowing what else to do followed by make install.

All seems to go again without incident until I attempt to invoke ./emacs which returns with "emacs: Cannot open termcap database file".

I've read and searched and tinkered but I just can't see it. I'm a linux newbie and admit there's probably something obvious I just don't see.

I've read the termcap is obsolete and terminfo used in conjunction with ncurses is the proper way to go but no matter what I do emacs continues to complain about the older termcap database file. I've also read that this is a fairly common problem with emacs. I went into Makefile.in <http://makefile.in/> and did #define LIBS_TERMCAP -lcurses and then did #define LIBS_TERMCAP -lncurses because it appears that I'm using new curses. I tried apt-get install termcap-compat but that didn't go well and the comment says that I shouldn't have to do that anyway if I employ the link workaround above. I did export TERMCAP=emacs. I even copied /usr/share/terminfo/d/dumb as /usr/share/terminfo/e/emacs - all in response to hints in various archives.

I do know env|grep TERM tells me I have TERM=xterm and COLORTERM=gnome-terminal.

I also don't understand why the build results in three identical sized emacs executables in different places under /emacs- 21.4 . What's up with that?

Can someone P-L-E-A-S-E point me in a direction that will help me sort out my termcap problem and get emacs up and running? I even tried to install xemacs but got the exact same error. At least I'm learning something.

Thanks very much in advance.


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