ROTE - Our Own Terminal Emulation Library

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NOTICE: libROTE has not been upgraded in a while and it seems that it will remain that way for, well, another while.

libROTE works as it is (it's not broken, just stalled), but it is lacking several interesting features such as Unicode support and other desirable capabilities.

If you are starting a new project, please take a look at libvterm. It's a library originally based on libROTE, but which adds several desirable features, and is under active development (as of 2009-10-19).

Also, if you intend to contribute code and patches, you'll have more luck and more feedback if you contribute directly to libvterm rather than libROTE.

What is it?

ROTE is a simple C library for VT102 terminal emulation. It allows the programmer to set up virtual 'screens' and send them data. The virtual screens will emulate the behavior of a VT102 terminal, interpreting escape sequences, control characters and such. The library supports ncurses as well so that you may render the virtual screen to the real screen when you need to.


To download the current version of ROTE, follow the link below.

How is it licensed?

ROTE is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License, which means it can be used to develop both free and proprietary software (under certain conditions - please click here to see the full text of the license.


This library was written by Bruno Takahashi C. de Oliveira, a Computer Science student at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. My e-mail address is the following (slightly garbled to avoid spam bots):

Other programs by the same author:

Programs that use libROTE

More Details

There are several programs that do terminal emulation, such as xterm, rxvt, screen and even the Linux console driver itself. However, it is not easy to isolate their terminal emulation logic and put it in a module that can be easily reused in other programs. That's where the ROTE library comes in.

The goal of the ROTE library is to provide terminal emulation support for C/C++ applications, making it possible to write programs that display terminals in embedded windows within them, or even monitor the display produced by other programs.

The ROTE library does not depend on any fancy library: only libc and ncurses. The ROTE library is able to render the virtual screens to the physical screen (actually any ncurses window) and can also translate ncurses key codes to the escape sequences the Linux console would have produced (and feed them into the terminal). Using ncurses is not mandatory however, and ROTE will work fine without it, but in that case the application must take care of drawing the terminal to the screen in whichever way it sees fit.

ROTE also encapsulates the functionality needed to execute a child process using the virtual screen as the controlling terminal. It will handle the creation of the pseudo-terminal and the child process. All the application has to do is tell it the command to run in the terminal and call an update function at regular intervals to allow the terminal to update itself.