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Utilities (Apple) OS X Operating Systems Software

Accurate ANSI Emulation in Mac OS X? 105

Posted by pudge
from the all-terminals-suck dept.
bedouin writes "I occasionally telnet to some BBSs that are very rich in ANSI graphics. While I can usually navigate fine through message areas and file boards, playing classic door games like Food Fight is almost unbearable. For about a year I've been searching for a Mac OS X terminal emulator that can accurately draw ANSI graphics just as they would appear on DOS systems with ansi.sys, but haven't found anything yet. Any suggestions? A native (and free or shareware) Mac OS X app would be prefered, but I'm willing to use an X11 or maybe even classic alternative as well. So far I've experimented with iTerm, GLterm, and aterm with unimpressive results."
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Accurate ANSI Emulation in Mac OS X?

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  • ANSI BBSes? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) <seebert42@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @07:53PM (#10062424) Homepage Journal
    Boy, that takes me WAY back. I seem to remember a program called MACTerm that did a semi-ok job at ANSI graphics, other than it being all in black & white anyway (this was before color macs). I doubt somehow that you'd find anything that would deal with color....unless you programmed it yourself.
  • luit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If you have an appropriate charset locale installed, 'luit' (comes with X11) can emulate any locale when run in a proper unicode terminal. it is a great tool for connecting to systems expecting odd character sets.
  • by aperezbios (256515) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:02PM (#10062487) Homepage
    I have been told that http://iterm.sf.net might be able to do this with some special DOS fonts I know nothing about. Give it a whirl. The authors are really nice people, and might be willing to help if you have questions.
  • By the side door (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ptaff (165113) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:03PM (#10062496) Homepage
    A great libre project that could be worth the try (even more so if you're into old games) is DOSBox [sourceforge.net] which does a great job simulating a 1990-era DOS machine, using SDL. As it's emulating the CPU, you'll be able to summon it on your reverse-endian architecture. All you need now is a good telnet client.

    Overhead for a telnet session, you could object, but as an added bonus you'll be able to reminisce all those 2 and 4 and 16-color days.

    Feel ready to own one or many Tux Stickers [ptaff.ca]?
    • DOSBox is excellent. I've been playing Ultima Underworld ( from CDs I bought in the late 90's ) on it. I bought the game originally, in 92 maybe, on 3.5" diskettes; but when the CDRom with the sequel came out I picked it up for I think 10 dollars from the bargain basket at babbage's.

      On my 866 powerbook it runs about the same as the NEC powermate 386 I originally played it on 12 years ago, but it works :P
    • There are a couple of frontends for dosbox for OS X. I use Radnor, it allows you to specify different 'C' drives, and even specific apps to launch. There is also dOSboX (note the case), which works fine, but seems less configurable.
      Anyways, I use Radnor/dosbox to run old govt. DOS apps, and I've had far less trouble than those using a DOS window from Windows, PocketDOS (a WinCE/PocketPC DOS emulator), or even native DOS machines.
      I love my Mac. And it loves me. Baby.

      (tig)
  • by bedouin (248624) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:21PM (#10062652)
    Additionally, being able to transfer files with Zmodem would be great as well. Though I think this is pushing things too far.
    • Zmodem and even Smodem have been available on Linux as long as I can remember. I think at least Zmodem is probably easily ported to OSX. Whether there's source code for Smodem I do not now (or remember).
      • by foo12 (585116)
        ZTerm [mac.com] was ported to Mac OS X awhile ago. It's shareware, but it itches the scratch well enough.
      • Whether there's source code for Smodem I do not now (or remember).

        Whether there's a grand unified theory that explains everything in our universe I do not know (or remember).

        Seriously; how can we distinguish whether we don't know or remember? If we can't remember, we don't know it anymore!

    • ZTerm (Score:5, Informative)

      by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:35PM (#10063735)
      Zterm http://homepage.mac.com/dalverson/zterm/ personally I still use v0.9 on my SE as a serial console, but it will handle Zmodem and PC ANSI BBS, and the latest versions are of course OS X native.
      • The only problem is ZTerm doesn't support ssh or telnet.
        • Re:ZTerm (Score:5, Funny)

          by capmilk (604826) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @02:55AM (#10065394)
          The only problem is ZTerm doesn't support ssh or telnet.

          Why not wire your G5 to a machine that does? If you're serious about that ANSI thing, a missing serial port won't stop you, will it? ;-)

        • Re:ZTerm (Score:2, Informative)

          by IvanXQZ (576819)
          Back in the OS 6/7/8/9 days, it was possible to make ZTerm (or most any serial app) work with Telnet by installing a telnet tool for the Communications Toolbox. This registered with the OS as a serial port, and if a program wanted to talk to it, it would make a telnet connection to wherever you had configured it to. (There were several of these; a popular free one is called "TGE TCP Tool" and it can be easily found. Info-Mac is also a good place to look.)

          Essentially, all serial communications in the OS was
        • There was a program called Black Night and I believe it supported telnet. I never used it bacause I think it was shareware and ZTerm was simply a better program (and free) for someone dialing BBS's.

          You can find it here [macosarchives.com].

      • Do you know of anything that will support ZedZap 8K? ;-)
      • I haven't touched it in about 6 years, but I still love ZTerm. I used to BBS for hours and hours using ZTerm. The only problem I ever had with it was that it didn't support blinking ANSI graphics.

        LK
  • by kiddailey (165202) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:35PM (#10062796) Homepage

    I've been slowly writing my own terminal program just because of the exact reason you've mentioned.

    The trick in my case was simply to find a Mac font that contained the IBM Extended ASCII characters in the same sequence. There are two such fonts floating around that will do the trick -- IBMAC and ENCLAVE. IBMac works really well in my experience.

    Usually, t's just a matter of putting them in your Fonts folder and telling your term program to use them for the display.

    I've slapped them up on my .Mac account for you.

    http://homepage.mac.com/kiddailey/files/misc/ibm -f onts.sit

    Note that they're bitmap fonts, so forget trying to view them in Fontbook.

    If you'd like to give my extremly rough, full-ansi supporting work-in-progress term program a try I'd be more than happy to slap it up somewhere for you :)
  • Quick Search (Score:5, Informative)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @08:45PM (#10062888) Homepage
    I don't use OS X (although I intend to soon when I buy a new PC), so I can't offer much. A quick Google search didn't turn up much, here are the only two things I found. If you dig deeper or try harder, you might have more success. I don't know where Mac software likes to hide ;).

    • MacWise [carnationsoftware.com] - Claims to do it, and there is a demo. But if you like it it's $95 which is NOT cheap.
    • From Mac OS X Hints [macosxhints.com] - How to add ANSI color to Terminal.app (I like how programs end in ".app" :)). It is from '02 and mentions that the default shell on OS X is csh which (IIRC) means it's talking about 10.1 or 10.2 (since it was changed to bash in 10.3, right?).

    My last suggestion is PuTTY. I've always found it to be an excelent program in the Windows world, and they have source for a Unix version which should work on OS X (this is based on the the Unix underpinnings, not anything written anywhere I saw). Download page [greenend.org.uk], look under "Unix source" or something like that.

    Hope one of those works, have fun.

    • Is there a mac hyper terminal-like program? I have to console into routers/switches at work constantly, and am stuck with Window's Hyper Terminal software. Any alternatives for my PowerBook?
    • by Pope (17780)
      I don't use OS X (although I intend to soon when I buy a new PC)

      Hey, good luck with that :)

      • Re:Quick Search (Score:2, Informative)

        by TCM (130219)
        Why is it modded funny? Check PearPC [sf.net]. I installed MacOS X 10.3 aka Panther in it just fine. Yes, on x86.
        • by SlamMan (221834)
          Let us know when it finished booting.
          • Actually, it's bearable and almost usable on a 2.6GHz P4. Booting to desktop takes 2m15s. "About this Mac" claims 1GHz G3 processor although this fluctuates (sometimes 700-900MHz depending on the load of the host) and doesn't correlate with the "felt speed".

            I admit, you can't really work with it and the coolness factor overlays the lack of speed.
        • Actually, the original poster was using PC in its original meaning, as "personal computer," not the post-IBM meaning "IBM Personal Computer." The Apple II was sold as a "personal computer" before the IBM PC came out - indeed, Apple created the market and IBM capitalized on it.
  • I can think of few things that would make bash cooler than if it could render colors like the ANSI ones.

    It's scary to think that we can send a robot to Mars running linux, but we can't get more than 7 colors out of our Bash shells.

    It doesn't seem like terribly difficult code to write. I'd do it myself if I could find the time.

    Does anyone have any pointers or starting points on where to begin doing this?
  • GLTerm (Score:4, Informative)

    by mjolnir_ (115649) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:37PM (#10063284)
    Check this out: http://www.pollet.net/GLterm/ [pollet.net] from the site: GLterm is a replacement for the Terminal application which ships with MacOS X. It's made to be faster, and to support more common terminal features. It supports full ANSI colors, all vt102 protocol, all DEC function keys, and a selection of useful xterm sequences. The Big Thing is that GLterm uses X11 .bdf fonts and renders them using..OpenGL. So it's very fast... as long as you have a working 3D accelerator. It should work as intended on B&W G3 and up for desktops and on White iBook and up for laptops: ie a machine whose 3D accelerator is handled properly in OSX. To this date (April 2002) Rage II, II+, Pro are not accelerated.
    • Seconded. GLTerm is the best native terminal I've yet found for OS X. I use rxvt (under X11) for most of my terminal-ing, though.
      • Has not he mentioned he tried it and was not satisfied?
        • Oops, looks like I should have RTFA.

          He might want to mention these issues to the GLterm developer, then.

          • Re:GLTerm (Score:5, Informative)

            by buserror (115301) * on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @10:51AM (#10068087)
            Well, I'm GLterm author, and AFAIK GLterm is perfectly ANSI, which is different to being a DOS "ANSI".
            I've had plenty of users using iirc ANSI ascii "art", MUD players using GLterm with their ANSI art as well. Gee I've been sent megabytes of sometime pretty borderline "films" to ensure they work.

            My own suggestion is to get a lame DOS box, old laptop or something. I'll probably be cheaper than a GLterm registration :D
            • Well I'm a *paid* GLterm customer and I noticed there hasn't been an update in years - how about posting the source if you're not going to maintain it?
              • Actualy it has been updated, several times, with a few minor enhancements etc. I've just haven't bumped the version number, nor updated the webpage. lazy me.
                I also have a new version the work, with tabs etc; but that needs more work!
                http://oomz.net/tabs.mov
  • The Mac Orchard (Score:4, Informative)

    by drewdsaur (808064) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:43PM (#10063321) Homepage
    Try the Mac Orchard for all things Mac Internet: http://www.macorchard.com/ Specifically, the terminal apps page (DataComet might work for you), or the Commercial apps page if you want to spend more money... Drew
  • by fruitbane (454488) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @09:48PM (#10063367) Homepage
    Well, since OS X has such great Java support, either natively or via a web browser (also native, but different interface, y'know?), are there any JAVA ANSI terminal emulators/telnet interfaces that could either be opened directly or as an applet in Safari or whatnot?
  • by Drunken_Jackass (325938) on Tuesday August 24, 2004 @10:04PM (#10063483) Homepage
    You wouldn't mind posting some BBS information for the ACSII-porn goldmines you've been holding out on.. would ya?
  • Tried VersaTerm Pro? (Score:4, Informative)

    by raga (12555) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @12:00AM (#10064334)
    Haven't used it in almost 15 years, but back when I did, VersaTerm Pro [synergy.com] used to handle evrything I threw at it (mostly Tektronix emulation for wild SASGraph plots, but I also remember doing tn3270 with some tweaking). It might work for you.

    cheers- raga

  • by beagle (99378) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @01:40AM (#10065024)
    Try setting the "TERM" environment variable to "ansi80x25" or something like that, to see if that helps. You probably don't need a new application - you probably just need to set different terminal emulation in your current app.
    • Informative? (Score:3, Informative)

      by lokedhs (672255)
      Who modded this informative? WHoever did obviously doesn't know much about UNIX.

      The TERM environment variable is used to tell the applications which emulation your terminal is using so they can send the correct escapte sequences. Changing it will make the apps send different codes which will mess up program you start.

  • by kzadot (249737)
    Why not start with the program that works the best, grab its source, find the bits that dont quite render the ANSI right, and simply fix it up so that it works right. Or am I missing something here?
  • by nka1993 (763370) on Wednesday August 25, 2004 @09:08AM (#10066998)
    Just when I thought I was the only one who checked the boards, I find out there are two. j/k.

    Anyhow, I've encountered the exact same problem, and our friend who posted the fonts on his .Mac site looks like a good bet.
    http://homepage.mac.com/kiddailey/files/misc/ibm-f onts.sit [mac.com]

    There are a couple of other things I'd like to bring up. First, I noticed that the backspace doesn't work automatically under the terminal when connecting to telnet sessions. There is a check box in the preferences to change that. Secondly, I write messages in some of the games and apparently the terminal puts in some bogus characters here and there. This may be related to the fonts yet again. However, I thought it was worth mentioning.
    For those of you who scoff at playing some door games on the BBS, I suggest you try Usurper. It is a lot of fun. Here is a link to a page that talks about the game in detail, and has some links to where you can telnet to, and play it.
    http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/7177/u surper.html [geocities.com]

    P.S. Some BBS installs have a web front end leveraging Java, which work quite well.
  • I've run Black Night 1.07 under OS 9.1, but have not tested it in Classic. I believe it was last updated in 1997. I used it to telnet into a BBS with color ANSI graphics. It supports Zmodem and is extendable with Communications Toolbox plugins. I couldn't find a site for the author, but the software is still out there http://www.macosarchives.com/terminal.html [macosarchives.com]
  • dataComet (Score:3, Informative)

    by brianmed (131838) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @02:48AM (#10075973)
    dataComet might work http://www.databeast.com/index.html
    • Available for Mac OS X and classic Mac OS.
    • VT100, VT220, VT320 emulation for Linux, UNIX & VMS systems.
    • PC-ANSI + SCO-ANSI emulation with customized PC-ANSI fonts.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday August 26, 2004 @08:58AM (#10077021) Homepage
    Old memories only, I'm afraid.

    I looked into this very carefully back circa 1985 to 1989, because I was in the computer unit of a research institution that was heavily into Digital gear, had databases and so forth that exploited Digital terminals, and had standardized on Macs for personal computers.

    At the time I found three "winners."

    --Apple's own MacTerminal had the most complete, accurate, and lovingly faithful VT100 emulation of anything I ever tested. It worked with everything, and in particular supported double high/double wide characters, everything about keypads. It was by far the best VT100 emulator of any kind, on any platform, I ever evaluated. No graphics, though (no "sixels").

    --White Pine Software's Mac240 was a very faithful VT240 emulator and was quite good for graphics.

    --Versaterm was not a flawless VT100 substitute, but it was very good at everything it did, and it did a lot.

    Many programs that claimed VT100 emulation were quite poor at it, particular issues involving commands that affected the VT100's internal state.

    The quick test is to try double high/double wide characters. An emulator that doesn't do them is not aspiring to be a high-fidelity DEC emulator. If an emulator does do them, it's a sign that the developers were really trying and probably knew their stuff.

    Much as I'd love to love them, Red Ryder/White Knight were lousy at VT100 emulation. If that means anything to anyone.
  • THE CORRECT ANSWER (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    If you want quick and painless ANSI terminal emulation, looking for a modern app that supports it is the wrong way to go about it. I've tried all the modern terms and they all do a worse job than this method.

    • Download an ANSI font from here [earthlink.net]
    • Place sabvga.pcf in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/fonts/misc
    • cd to that dir and run "sudo mkfontdir"
    • Fire up X11 in your Utilities folder
    • Open an Xterm and run "xtern -fn sabvga"

    Voila! You now have perfect ANSI terminal emulation because it is exactly the same program as peop

  • Back in my Mac OS 7.X days I found Black Night [paradise.net.nz]. This program does the best job I've seen on a Mac.
  • The new MacTelnet for Mac OS X looks looks promising...(it's still in alpha though)

    Homepage:
    http://www.mactelnet.com/ [mactelnet.com]

    Sourceforge page:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/mactelnet/ [sourceforge.net]

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