Public Domain Curses

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A public domain curses library, but that is a standardised UNIX function that provides rudimentary screen handling and updating of text based windowing or screen system. It is in other words a very basic text UI API and is commonly used on UNIX like systems as a sort of lowest common denominator for a text user interface, i.e. no matter what the system is, a curses library should be present or available for that system. Although most commonly used with a text mode C program the API can be used with any language under the right circumstances or with the right bindings and is quite often used with scripting languages such as REXX (typically via Rexx/Curses).

Note that PD Curses is just one of may curses libraries out there, nCurses, P Curses and PC Curses exist or have been ported to OS/2 at some point in time, what differentiates PD Curses from other such systems is that instead of keeping a database or a list of available and possible screen modes PD Curses uses a driver system which keeps it lighter on resources. In addition to supporting OS/2 and MS Windows natively and all UNIX like system via an implementation that binds to an X11 server, the PDC library has also been ported to SDL and can therefore be used or ported easily with any system that has a C compiler and an SDL implementation

The name "curses" BTW is a rather weak pun on "cursor optimization" and the software concept and name it traces its roots to terminal libraries from the early 70's and appears to pre-date UNIX even.


  • Current version: 3.4 2008-09-09 (Available in source form only, but with full OS/2 support)




  • Mark Hessling (Original Author)
  • William McBrine (Current maintainer)