WSCONS(4) BSD Kernel Interfaces Manual WSCONS(4)
wscons -- console access
wsdisplay* at ...
wskbd* at ... mux N
wsmouse* at ... mux N
pseudo-device wsmux [count]
The wscons driver provides support for machine-independent access to the
wscons is made of a number of cooperating modules, in particular
o Hardware support for display adapters, keyboards and mice; see
wsdisplay(4), wskbd(4), and wsmouse(4).
o Input event multiplexor; see wsmux(4).
o Terminal emulation modules (see below).
o Compatibility options to support control operations and other low-
level behaviour of existing terminal drivers (see below).
wscons does not define its own set of terminal control sequences and spe-
cial keyboard codes in terms of termcap(5). Instead, a ``terminal
emulation'' is assigned to each virtual screen when the screen is created
(see wsconscfg(8)). Different terminal emulations can be active at the
same time on one display.
The following choices are available:
dumb This minimal terminal support is always available. No control
sequences are supported besides the ASCII control characters. The
cursor is not addressable. Only ASCII keyboard codes will be
delivered, cursor and functions keys do not work.
sun The ``sun'' console emulation is available by default on sparc and
sparc64 architectures, or if option WSEMUL_SUN was specified at
kernel build time. It supports the control sequences of SUN
machine consoles and delivers its keyboard codes for function and
keypad keys (as far as present on the actually used keyboard).
ANSI colors are also supported on this emulation, if the TERM
environment variable is set to rcons-color.
This emulation is sufficient for full-screen applications.
vt100 is available by default, but can be disabled with option
WSEMUL_NO_VT100. It provides the most commonly used functions of
DEC VT100 terminals with some extensions introduced by the DEC
VT220 and DEC VT320 models. The features of the original VT100
which are not, or not completely, implemented are:
o VT52 support, 132-column-mode, smooth scroll, light back-
ground, keyboard autorepeat control, external printer support,
keyboard locking, newline/linefeed switching: Escape sequences
related to these features are ignored or answered with stan-
dard replies. (DECANM, DECCOLM, DECSCLM, DECSCNM, DECARM,
DECPFF, DECPEX, KAM, LNM)
o Function keys are not reprogrammable and fonts can not be
downloaded. DECUDK and DECDLD sequences will be ignored.
o Neither C1 control set characters will be recognized nor will
8-bit keyboard codes be delivered.
o The ``DEC supplemental graphic'' font is approximated by the
ISO-latin-1 font, though there are subtle differences.
o The actual rendering quality depends on the underlying graph-
ics hardware driver. Characters might be missing in the
available fonts and be substituted by more or less fitting
Depending on the keyboard used, not all function keys might be
In addition to the plain VT100 functions, the following features
o ANSI colors
o Some VT220 -like presentation state settings and -reports
(DECRSPS), especially tabulator settings.
In most applications, wscons will work sufficiently as a VT220
The WSEMUL_DEFAULT kernel option allows selecting one of the described
terminal options as the default choice. The default goes into effect at
kernel startup, i.e., for the operating system console or additional
screens allocated through the WSDISPLAY_DEFAULTSCREENS option (see
wsdisplay(4)), or if no emulation type was passed to the wsconscfg(8)
Compatibility options: these options allow running X servers or other
programs using low-level console driver functions which were written
specifically for other console drivers to run on OpenBSD systems. The
options are in particular:
WSDISPLAY_COMPAT_USL Support the protocol for switches between mul-
tiple virtual screens on one display as used
by most PC-UNIX variants.
WSDISPLAY_COMPAT_RAWKBD Allows getting raw XT keyboard scancodes from
PC keyboards as needed by i386 X servers.
WSDISPLAY_COMPAT_PCVT Emulates enough of the OpenBSD / i386 ``pcvt''
driver to make X servers work.
WSDISPLAY_COMPAT_SYSCONS Emulates enough of the i386 FreeBSD
``syscons'' driver to make X servers work.
Useful with FreeBSD binary emulation.
Linux/i386 X servers do usually run if the first two options are enabled
together with the OpenBSD Linux binary emulation.
(To have programs looking for device special files of other console driv-
ers find the wscons driver entry points, symlinks are a helpful measure.)
option WS_KERNEL_COLATTR="(WSATTR_XXX | WSATTR_YYY)"
option WS_KERNEL_MONOATTR="(WSATTR_XXX | WSATTR_YYY)"
Make console output originating from the kernel appear differently
than output from user level programs (via /dev/console or the spe-
cific tty device like /dev/ttyC0). ``WS_KERNEL_FG'' and
``WS_KERNEL_BG'' set the foreground / background used on color dis-
The ``WSCOL_XXX'' arguments are colors as defined in
/usr/include/dev/wscons/wsdisplayvar.h. ``WS_KERNEL_COLATTR'' and
``WS_KERNEL_MONOATTR'' are additional attribute flags used on color
or monochrome displays, respectively. The arguments are defined in
the same header file. Whether the attributes are supported or not
depends on the actually used graphics adapter. These options are
ignored by the ``dumb'' terminal emulation.
The virtual screen switching protocol enabled by
``WSDISPLAY_COMPAT_USL'' uses a somewhat complex handshake protocol
to pass control to user programs as X servers controlling a virtual
screen. To avoid a non-responsive application locking the whole
console system, a screen switch will be rolled back if the user
application does not respond to a screen switch request within some
time. This option sets the timeout (in seconds); the default value
is 5 seconds.
intro(4), wsdisplay(4), wskbd(4), wsmouse(4), wsmux(4), wsconscfg(8),
wsconsctl(8), wsfontload(8), wsmoused(8)
BSD June 26, 2008 BSD