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Accessing remote Emacs from a Mac terminal emulator

From: MBR
Subject: Accessing remote Emacs from a Mac terminal emulator
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:42:29 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10.8; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.3.0

I need to log into a shell on a remote server and then invoke Emacs from the command line. Up until recently my local machine was a Windows laptop. I was running 'putty' locally. Putty's front end is a terminal emulator, and it speaks ssh out its back end.

I recently switched to a Mac, so to accomplish the same task I've been running the Mac terminal emulator (/Applications/Utilities/ and at the local command line I run:

   ssh -p port address@hidden

After I log into the remote machine's shell, I start up Emacs, just as I've been doing for ages. Almost everything works just as it used to, BUT when I need to type a keystroke with the Meta modifier (i.e. use the ALT modifier key) the modifier isn't recognized.

Although I can get the same effect by using the ESC key, that's often a real pain. For example, if I want to move forward a word at a time, I'll usually type ALT+f, and then release the "f" key and type it again several times without ever releasing the ALT key. To do the same thing with the ESC key, I've got to press ESC, release ESC, press F, release F, repeat until the cursor's where I want it.

Clearly putty sends something in the SSH protocol that lets the remote Emacs know when the ALT key is pressed. I don't know if it's the Mac terminal emulator or the Mac implementation of SSH that's failing to pass that information along.

Does anyone here have any idea what I need to do to allow the information about the state of the ALT modifier key to be passed to the server where Emacs is running?

   Mark R.

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