[lug] Initial Value of term and tcsh

John E. Koontz koontz at boulder.nist.gov
Wed Oct 30 12:47:23 MST 2002

I am dealing with two Red Hat Linux systems, one 7.2, one 7.3.   Both are 
using gdm and GNOME.   There are various configuration differences between 
the two systems apart from the difference in versions.  The 7.2 was set up 
by Dell and modified some locally.  The 7.3 was installed from the Red Hat 
Bible CDs and modified some locally.  In particular, both systems had 
NIS/NFS/automounter set up, and the 7.3 had an in house hardening script 
(not mine) run.

The user accounts are from NIS and the user shell is tcsh.  Both systems 
are running tcsh 6.10.0 with the same date and compilation 
options.  Incidentally, there is no /etc/ttytype file on either system.

If I connect to a system gdm invokes .login which sources another file in 
which there is the code sequence:

echo "Term is initially $term"
if ( ! $?term ) set term="unknown"
echo "Term is now $term"
while ( $term == "dumb" || $term == "network" || $term == "" )
    echo What is your terminal type\?
    set term=`tset - -I -Q \?$DEFAULT_TERM`

At this point term is undefined, though, for example, in running this code 
in Solaris it might come in as dtterm.

On the 7.2 system .xsession-errors contains

XIM DEBUG: Term is initially dumb
Term is now dumb
What is your terminal type?
tset: standard error: Inappropriate ioctl for device
(Repeat previous two lines indefinitely - user never gets a session.)

On the 7.3 system .xsession-errors contains

term: Undefined variable.

Gtk-WARNING **: gtk_signal_disconnect_by_data(): could not find handler 
containing data (0x81B0B68)

This last alternative is more what I would expect.

If I remove the initial echo, then I get, as expected, on either system:

XIM DEBUG: Term is now unknown
Terminal type set to unknown.
The DISPLAY variable has been set to :0

Gdk-WARNING **: locale not supported by C library

Actually, the 7.3 system doesn't include the XIM DEBUG: at the start of the 
first line this time either.  I'm assuming that this is a Xim[ian] debug 
option to capture output directed in a suspicious or aimless direction, and 
not involved in the actual pattern of behavior with term.


To summarize, on the 7.2 system, using echo to look at term, apparently 
undefined, apparently causes it to have the value dumb.  I'm tempted to 
say, causes it to have a dumb value.  Not looking at it lets it remain 
undefined, so it gets reset to unknown.  On the 7.3 system, looking at term 
with echo doesn't affect it.


The question is, can anyone tell me what is setting term in this way, 
apparently within only one of two identical tcsh-es?


I'm pretty sure the difference does have something to do with the 
differences in setup of the two systems, because I have another 7.3 which, 
so far as tested, has the same superficial behavior as the first.  However, 
I have no idea what difference in the 7.2 system might be relevant here.  I 
suspect it's not directly correlated with the version of Red Hat, however, 
but something about the Dell setup or subsequent mods.

John E. Koontz
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