osx - Missing the first character of a line on full screen apps on Linux server ssh'ed from OS X Terminal

  • Mikko Ohtamaa

    enter image description hereI am having problems with the Terminal application on Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

    I use ssh to connect to a remote Linux server and perform configuration file editing.

    For some reason, it sometimes misses characters when it's connected to the Linux server. I have had problems pinpointing this and making it happen in a repeatable manner - unfortunately this is the best method I have come up with it:

    1. Connect to Ubuntu 8.04 server

    2. Edit some text file with nano (full screen app)

    3. The first line of the text file is missing the first character of the line (the leftmost character). E.g. if the text file contains line "asdf" you'll see "sdf".

    4. If you move the cursor to this position the character will be back there (the line is redrawn by nano)

    5. Resizing the Terminal app window does not bring back any characters

    6. If you hit refresh (CTRL+L) in nano the characters will be lost again

    The same problem can be observed with less and some other terminal apps.

    The problem is not repeatable with the Gnome terminal or other terminal application, so it cannot be related to the server configuration. However, I have the same problem on two different OS X installations, so it might be linked to my default settings.

    I suspect this might be related to UTF-8 encoding or Terminal settings somehow, but I have not yet managed to figure out which setting triggers it.

    The used ssh client is:

     OpenSSH_5.2p1, OpenSSL 0.9.8r 8 Feb 2011


    This is actually repeatable on local OSX too and not tied to Ubuntu.

    Installed Macports (not sure if needed) and using the following GNU nano to edit text files::

    GNU nano version 2.0.6 (compiled 11:42:28, May 18 2009)
    Email: [email protected] Web: http://www.nano-editor.org/
    Compiled options: --disable-nls --enable-color --enable-extra --enable-multibuffer --enable-nanorc

    The following terminal related environment variables are set:


    In Terminal.app it says the emulation is ansi and encoding UTF-8.

    Not stil sure which is the triggering combiation (which Terminal mode, etc.)

  • Answers
  • RedGrittyBrick

    The problem you describe is typical of an incorrect value for the TERM environment variable. Specifically, the value of the TERM variable on Ubuntu selects a set of terminal features and capabilities that do not match those of the OS X Terminal application.

    If TERM is set to something like xterm-color or xterm-256color try setting it to other values (e.g. the other one from the two I mentioned, or plain xterm, ansi or vt220).


    In OS X Terminal.app, try the following commands

    TERM=ansi nano googlef916dafa821844e0.html
    TERM=vt220 nano googlef916dafa821844e0.html
    TERM=xterm nano googlef916dafa821844e0.html
    TERM=xterm-color nano googlef916dafa821844e0.html    
    TERM=xterm-256color nano googlef916dafa821844e0.html
  • Tom Wijsman

    Looks like Terminal is just buggy.

    I recommend using iTerm 2 instead.

    iTerm2 is a replacement for Terminal and the successor to iTerm. It works on Macs with Leopard, Snow Leopard, or Lion. Its focus is on performance, internationalization, and supporting innovative features that make your life better.

  • Related Question

    osx - Pasting into vim from GUI results in missing lines
  • tog22

    When I copy text from an OS X GUI app (e.g. Firefox) and paste it into vim in my terminal, it's often missing the first few lines or characters, with no obvious pattern.

    This may not be vim specific, but I've just tested pasting into the terminal when not using vim – e.g. when using the bash shell – and don't get them problem.

  • Related Answers
  • slhck

    Just make sure that when pasting to vim, the Insert Mode is activated. Do this by pressing i before pasting.

    Otherwise pasted characters like i or o will trigger insert mode and you'll miss everything before.