256 colors on the Linux terminal

January 20, 2009 at 12:30 PM | categories: emacs, linux | View Comments

I've been using Linux as my main OS for well over a decade now. I can hardly believe I didn't pick up on this tip before.

On your linux desktop, open up your favorite terminal emulator. Enter this command:

tput colors

What number do you see? 8?

8 stinking colors. That's what my terminal is capable of displaying. It's 2009 folks, and my terminal can only display 8 stinking colors.

Load up emacs in the terminal (emacs -nw) and see for yourselves, M-x list-colors-display shows you all of the different colors your terminal can display.


Ok, so how to improve this? On ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install ncurses-term

and stick the following in your ~/.bashrc and/or ~/.bash_profile:

export TERM=xterm-256color


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