Escape colour codes

Matthew Woehlke
Wed Apr 4 20:24:00 GMT 2007

Eric Blake wrote:
> The bug in all three of these programs is that they are adding spurious \1 into 
> the string passed to readline.  When you call readline("\001\001invisible\001
> \002plain"), then readline assumes that anything between the FIRST \001 and the 
> \002 is invisible (ie. special to the terminal instead of literal output).  So 
> readline thinks that it should PRINT the invisible string "\001invisible\001" 
> special to the terminal, followed by the visible string "plain".  However, as 
> you noticed, \001 is NOT special to the terminal, and results in a 
> smiley face, and readline is now thoroughly confused (it thinks it is waiting 
> for input on position 6, but in reality it is waiting for input on position 8, 
> because you printed literal characters while claiming they were invisible).
> Bash, on the other hand, DOES map \[ to the sequence '\001\001' inside of 
> parse.y's decode_prompt_string(), BECAUSE it later calls expand_prompt_string() 
> to get rid of the extra \001.  It needs to do this so that it can support 
> PS1='$(foo)' (the prompt is the expansion of command foo), and needed a way to 
> tell \[ and \] in PS1 apart from literal \001 and \002 resulting from the 
> expansion of other elements in the prompt string.  When the prompt is finally 
> expanded and ready to hand to readline, the extra \001 _used by bash_ is gone, 
> leaving only the SINGLE \001 _used by readline_.  In other words, the common 
> bug in all three programs you mentioned is that they copied bash's escape 
> sequences, but NOT bash's round of internal expansion, prior to calling 
> readline.  The comment in the lftp sources was rather revealing - if the coder 
> didn't know why bash used an extra \001, they shouldn't have copied that.

Given that three separate programs had *the same bug*, and given that 
bash is perhaps the most visible readline user, maybe it would be 
worthwhile to mention (briefly) in readline's doc to *not* copy bash's 
extra \001 in your own implementation? :-)

Anyway, I'm glad this was resolved without my (mis)help interfering too 
much. :-)

"Will somebody get this walking carpet out of my way?!" -- Princess Leia 

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