Modern ncurses replacement

Michael Torrie torriem at
Mon Mar 9 08:54:46 MDT 2009

Dave Smith wrote:
> If I were to start a new project today that needs a terminal-based  
> user interface, is there a more modern replacement for ncurses that I  
> should consider, or is ncurses just as relevant today as it has been  
> in the past?

I'd say ncurses is still relevant, but only because it's just about as
standard as curses, as far as its availability on Linux systems.  Note
that on Solaris and other Unix OSs that ncurses is not installed by
default.  I believe ncurses is a superset of curses, and hence sometimes
libraries are based on either (sometimes interchangeably).

There might be other, better, more modern systems, but you can bet they
are all layered on ncurses or at least on curses.

A few years ago someone wrote a "theme" for Gtk that was curses based.
Originally it was a gag but someone then actually made it.  Of course it
never really was intended for real use.   I also remember a april fools
joke announcing Qt for curses, complete with screenshots.  And in
actuality, a subset of Qt's API rendering to curses or ncurses isn't
that dumb of an idea.

Besides the utui that Nicholas mentioned, there's also tvision[1], which
is a modern (well 5 to 10 years old and ported to Unix via ncurses and
also to Win32 if I recall correctly) port  of the original DOS-based
Turbo Vision library, which Borland used to building their IDEs back in
the day.  There's an interested little IDE for Linux and Unix called
"motor[2]" that a person could use if he or she wanted to experience the
nostalgia of the Turbo C++ days (which was an awesome IDE in its day).


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