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RE: Some features may be dropped from GNU Screen in the future (includin

From: Don Raikes
Subject: RE: Some features may be dropped from GNU Screen in the future (including braille support)
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 13:57:52 -0700 (PDT)


If you can't test Braille support, don't just remove it, ask for help testing.

I would be happy to test Braille support on Linux, and I am sure there are 
others who would be willing to test as well.

I haven't ever used the screen package per se, but I am a strong proponent for 
ensuring things at least stay as accessible as they are if not improve.

-----Original Message-----
From: Axel Beckert [mailto:address@hidden 
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 1:30 PM
To: address@hidden; address@hidden
Cc: Amadeusz Sławiński
Subject: Some features may be dropped from GNU Screen in the future (including 
braille support)


on the GNU Screen development mailing list, there's currently a thread which 
discusses how to get some drive in the GNU Screen development again.

Amadeusz Sławiński (Cc'ed) has a git repo with some a little bit more 
disruptive changes at

In the following mail he describes what he changed and removed. (I've shortened 
the mail. "[…]" show points where I removed parts. Full mail at

One of the GNU Screen feature which are about to be dropped in the future is 
Screen's braille support. (Which is not enabled in Debian's screen package as 
far as I can see.)

I know that there are quite some visually handicapped Grml users, so I send 
this mail to the debian-accessibility mailing list and the general Grml mailing 
list. Reply-To is set to the screen-users mailing list. (I don't read 
debian-accessibility, but both other lists.) I also allowed myself to Bcc some 
other heavy screen users I know personally.

So if you use Screen's braille features (whatever they are exactly) or any 
other of the explicitly listed features in the mail below, and want to continue 
to using them, please speak up now. Upstream is also in need of someone testing 
(and maybe maintaining) that code.

One potentially to be removed screen feature which IIRC is used by Grml by 
default is the nethack mode with a little bit more cryptic screen messages than 
by default. Not sure how mission-critical that one is. ;-)

----- Forwarded message from Amadeusz Sławiński <address@hidden> -----
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2014 19:47:21 +0200
From: Amadeusz Sławiński <address@hidden>
To: address@hidden
Subject: Re: [screen-devel] screen maintainer

> > * new features (256 colors in hardstatus, hardstatus on top, 
> > truecolor, ...)
> > * removal of ancient code (removed most of #ifdef for ancient
> > systems)
> I fear that this may cause a lot of breakage. Linux(*) is by far not 
> the only platform for Screen out there.
> (*) You wrote earlier that you only tested your code on Linux. Linux
>     is by far not the only platform, GNU Screen runs on.

That's why I warn before hand. Screen is project which accumulated more then 25 
years of code according to copyrights. And while it may be interesting to 
historians, I think it's time source is stripped of those workarounds and 
retested on machines people use, because it's likely that it just works with 
far fewer hacks, than it had.

> > * removal of features which didn't seem useful or could be replaced
> Please list which features you removed, so that people at least have a 
> chance to object.

That's why I want to talk about it before I do anything drastic, one of reasons 
I tried to describe my changes at least a bit ;)

>From fast comparing between source files:
multiuser - seemed more like security risk to me braille - couldn't test :( 
utmp - seemed broken and there is also utmpx?
nethack - funny, but who really needs it?
zmodem - according to wiki some ancient file transfer protocol there may be 
something else...


I want to make sure that screen stays as usable as it is to people who use it, 
but also would like to see new stuff happening, that's why I started this talk. 

----- End forwarded message -----

                Regards, Axel
 ,''`.  |  Axel Beckert <address@hidden>,
: :' :  |  Debian Developer, Admin
`. `'   |  1024D: F067 EA27 26B9 C3FC 1486  202E C09E 1D89 9593 0EDE
  `-    |  4096R: 2517 B724 C5F6 CA99 5329  6E61 2FF9 CD59 6126 16B5

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