Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Steve recommends to run the following code before you start your Emacs

stty erase ^\?

I get after running it

stty: illegal option -- Backups
usage: stty [-a|-e|-g] [-f file] [options]

Steve's blog post

Note that the ^\? - - dorks the Delete key by making it send a ^H, but enables the C-h sequence in Emacs. Note that C-Delete does a normal backward-delete-char, so just remember that when you're backspacing in a terminal, hold the control key down.

How can you see what Steve's command does?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

That command works fine for me. At first I thought perhaps you weren't using bash, and the ^ or \ characters were being interpreted differently, so I tried csh and sh and it still worked fine. Are you sure that you're typing "^" (shift 6) "\" (not /) and "?" (normal question mark)?

You can try it like this:

stty erase "^?"

which should have the same effect.

If that doesn't work, I can't help since I don't have access to OS X. Good luck!

share|improve this answer
    
I use Zsh. Your command seems to work with quotes. However, I am still unsure where to see the difference: Should I see the difference in Emacs or outside of Emacs? -- I run the command, type "nonsense" and pressed a backspace => a letter was removed. –  Masi Jun 6 '09 at 22:47
1  
See my other answer for outside emacs. Within emacs, if I remember correctly, the default binding for ^h was help, and the DEL key was bound to backup-and-delete. This stty command makes DEL do backup-and-delete, so it's consistent. The defaults may have changed, or your settings may be different. I know that the backspace key has worked "right" for me both within and outside emacs for a few years, without me having to do anything special. What problem are you having, and what are you trying to achieve? –  Randy Orrison Jun 6 '09 at 23:39
    
@Randy: Thank you! I now know what the command does - it solved a problem for me at my server. –  Masi Jun 7 '09 at 13:34

How can you see what Steve's command does?

If the command is successful, there will be no output. However, it's easy to see what it has done: at the prompt type something then try to backspace over it. Instead of erasing what you typed, you'll get ^H displayed for every backspace you type.

To return things to normal, use this command:

stty erase ^h

(that's just shift 6, then h)

As with my first answer, this works for me on Ubuntu with bash. However, it may be different on OS X.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.