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I'm on a linux box:

jla@jaspden-desktop$ uname -a

Linux jaspden-desktop #1 SMP Sat May 21 17:39:42 UTC 2011 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux

here, at the command prompt, the backspace key deletes the character behind the cursor, and the delete key deletes the character underneath the cursor.

I log in remotely to another box of ours:

$ ssh anvil
Last login: Thu Sep 15 11:58:38 2011 from

$ uname -a
Linux anvil 2.6.9-89.ELlargesmp #1 SMP Mon Apr 20 10:43:12 EDT 2009 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

Now the backspace key still works as before, but the delete key doesn't delete anything. Instead, it inserts a tilde like so:

jla@anvil$ misspell~ling

If I then run tcsh on the remote box,

$ tcsh

The delete key works as if it were backspace, deleting the character behind the cursor.

If I go back to bash, it reverts to its tilde-inserting mode.

Any ideas how to fix/debug this? It's driving me up the wall.

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migrated from Sep 16 '11 at 23:00

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Here are two guides to help you understand and hopefully fix the backspace and delete keys in various shells and other command line applications:

They have helped me solve this kind of problems many times.

I have refrained from quoting the "most relevant" part, because any part of those documents could be the most relevant for you, it depends on the specifics of your systems.

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Thanks! That was enough information to sort it out. I needed to modify .inputrc for bash and .cshrc for tcsh. – John Lawrence Aspden Sep 16 '11 at 13:06

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