Modify $TERM from config

Bob Rasmussen ras at
Wed Jun 27 04:58:07 EST 2012

Perhaps the answer to this is to bring forward a concept from the telnet 
protocol, into SSH. When a telnet client connects, it doesn't just say 
"I am TERM=ABC". Instead there is an option negotiation process defined. 
So if the server responds "I don't know what terminal ABC is", the client 
can try "I am TERM=XYZ". This process can continue until the client 
decides what is the best fit, and tells the host.

It's similar in concept to how, in SSH, authentication methods are 

Another environment variable that would benefit from this approach would 
be LANG. My client might want to try "LANG=en_US.UTF-8", but be able to 
drop back to "LANG=en_US".

On Tue, 26 Jun 2012, Chris Adams wrote:

> The terminal programs (xterm, gnome-terminal, etc.) in Fedora have all
> supported 256 colors for quite a while, so there's a proposal for Fedora
> to switch them to using "xterm-256color" for $TERM.  One drawback would
> be when you SSH to another host that doesn't have an up-to-date terminal
> database and doesn't recognize "xterm-256color" (but does know "xterm").
> I don't see a way to override $TERM for a particular host in
> ~/.ssh/config.  Also, it would really be better to be able to modify it
> (rather than just override it), with some way to say "drop the -256color
> suffix if it exists".
> Any suggestions?  Would something along these lines be accepted by
> OpenSSH?
> I'd like to see this because I use "screen" a lot, and if it set $TERM
> to "screen-256color", my SSH connections to my Juniper JUNOS routers
> would be annoying (while they recognize "xterm-256color", they don't
> know "screen-256color").
> -- 
> Chris Adams <cmadams at>
> Systems and Network Administrator - HiWAAY Internet Services
> I don't speak for anybody but myself - that's enough trouble.
> _______________________________________________
> openssh-unix-dev mailing list
> openssh-unix-dev at

....Bob Rasmussen,   President,   Rasmussen Software, Inc.

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