Readline-4.1 available for FTP

Chet Ramey
Fri Mar 17 14:07:00 GMT 2000

The first public release of the GNU Readline library, version
4.1, is now available for FTP with the URLs

and from the usual GNU mirror sites.

This distribution is essentially a standalone version of the
readline library that appears in Bash-2.04 together with an
`autoconf' framework.  The documentation has been updated and
is current.  Postscript, DVI, and Info versions of the Readline
and History manuals are included.  A list of changes in this
release is appended to this announcement.

GNU Readline is a library which provides programs with an input
facility including command-line editing and history.  Editing
commands similar to both emacs and vi are included.  The GNU
History library, which provides facilities for managing a list of
previously-typed command lines and an interactive command line
recall facility similar to that provided by csh, is also present.
The history library is built as part of the readline library as well
as separately.

Diffs from readline-4.0 are available with the URLs

The diffs should be applied using `patch -p1 patch-file' from within
a readline-4.0 source directory.

Please send readline bug reports to

+========== CHANGES ==========+
This document details the changes between this version, readline-4.1,
and the previous version, readline-4.0.

1.  Changes to Readline

a.  Changed the HTML documents so that the table-of-contents is no longer
    a separate file.

b.  Changes to the shared object configuration for: Irix 5.x, Irix 6.x,

c.  The shared library major and minor versions are now constructed
    automatically by configure and substituted into the makefiles.

d.  It's now possible to install the shared libraries separately from the
    static libraries.

e.  The history library tries to truncate the history file only if it is a
    regular file.

f.  A bug that caused _rl_dispatch to address negative array indices on
    systems with signed chars was fixed.

g.  rl-yank-nth-arg now leaves the history position the same as when it was

h.  Changes to the completion code to handle MS-DOS drive-letter:pathname

i.  Completion is now case-insensitive by default on MS-DOS.

j.  Fixes to the history file manipulation code for MS-DOS.

k.  Readline attempts to bind the arrow keys to appropriate defaults on MS-DOS.

l.  Some fixes were made to the redisplay code for better operation on MS-DOS.

m.  The quoted-insert code will now insert tty special chars like ^C.

n.  A bug was fixed that caused the display code to reference memory before
    the start of the prompt string.

o.  More support for __EMX__ (OS/2).

p.  A bug was fixed in readline's signal handling that could cause infinite
    recursion in signal handlers.

q.  A bug was fixed that caused the point to be less than zero when rl_forward
    was given a very large numeric argument.

r.  The vi-mode code now gets characters via the application-settable value
    of rl_getc_function rather than calling rl_getc directly.

s.  The history file code now uses O_BINARY mode when reading and writing
    the history file on cygwin32.

t.  Fixed a bug in the redisplay code for lines with more than 256 line

u.  A bug was fixed which caused invisible character markers to not be
    stripped from the prompt string if the terminal was in no-echo mode.
v.  Readline no longer tries to get the variables it needs for redisplay 
    from the termcap entry if the calling application has specified its
    own redisplay function.  Readline treats the terminal as `dumb' in
    this case.

w.  Fixes to the SIGWINCH code so that a multiple-line prompt with escape
    sequences is redrawn correctly.

x.  Changes to the install and install-shared targets so that the libraries
    and header files are installed separately.

2.  New Features in Readline

a.  A new Readline `user manual' is in doc/rluserman.texinfo.

b.  Parentheses matching is now always compiled into readline, and enabled
    or disabled when the value of the `blink-matching-paren' variable is

c.  MS-DOS systems now use ~/_inputrc as the last-ditch inputrc filename.

d.  MS-DOS systems now use ~/_history as the default history file.

e.  history-search-{forward,backward} now leave the point at the end of the
    line when the string to search for is empty, like

f.  history-search-{forward,backward} now leave the last history line found
    in the readline buffer if the second or subsequent search fails.

g.  New function for use by applications:  rl_on_new_line_with_prompt, used
    when an application displays the prompt itself before calling readline().

h.  New variable for use by applications:  rl_already_prompted.  An application
    that displays the prompt itself before calling readline() must set this to
    a non-zero value.

i.  A new variable, rl_gnu_readline_p, always 1.  The intent is that an
    application can verify whether or not it is linked with the `real'
    readline library or some substitute.

j.  Per Bothner's `rlfe' (pronounced `Ralphie') readline front-end program
    is included in the examples subdirectory, though it is not built
    by default.


``The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.'' - Chaucer
( ``Discere est Dolere'' -- chet)

Chet Ramey, CWRU    chet@po.CWRU.Edu

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