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I've been searching for a way to disable the bright (bold) colours in a TTY (colours 8 to 15). I'd like all bright colours to use their half-bright counterparts.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Find the terminfo database for your terminal type under /usr/share/terminfo — it should be a file named the same as the value of your TERM variable. Remember its pathname.

Decompile the database file into source using infocmp $TERM > FILE.ti. This can be done in your home directory, because infocmp will find the right database file based on the value of $TERM.

Edit FILE.ti and remove the entry bold=... from the comma-separate list of name=value pairs. Save the file, and recompile it using tic FILE.ti. This will replace FILE in the same directory.

Make a new directory under your home directory named .terminfo. Also make any subdirectories under ~/.terminfo necessary to match the subdirectories under /usr/share/terminfo where you found FILE. Now copy both FILE and FILE.ti into the subdirectory under ~/.terminfo that matches the subdirectory under /usr/share/terminfo where you found FILE. For example, if you have files named xterm and xterm.ti, you would copy them to directory ~/.terminfo/x because you found xterm in /usr/share/terminfo/x.

Next add this line to your ~/.bashrc startup script: export TERMINFO="$HOME/.terminfo", and close and re-open your terminal window.

This should disable the bold operation for that terminal type, and all colors should only appear in their dim form.

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Actually, the tic FILE.ti command may have to be tic -o. FILE.ti, which forces it to write the compiled terminfo file into the current directory. Sorry about that omission. – Fran Jun 7 '12 at 16:06
When all is said and done, you can verify where terminfo is getting your terminal's database from by running infocmp $TERM. Near the top of the output should be a line of the form: # Reconstructed via infocmp from file: /cygdrive/c/franl/.terminfo/r/rxvt. That filename is where terminfo is getting your terminal's database from. – Fran Jun 7 '12 at 16:47
Thanks for this! Really appreciate it. Interestingly when I used tic FILE.ti it wrote it to the correct place ($HOME/.terminfo/l/linux). I didn't need to copy both FILE and FILE.ti to the subdir, just FILE. Also the changes were picked up without editing my .bashrc. – Chris Kempson Jun 12 '12 at 11:44
Glad it worked. The behavior you describe may be because you already have a TERMINFO environment variable set to $HOME/.terminfo. It might be something the default shell startup scripts on your Linux distribution set up for you. – Fran Jun 12 '12 at 14:45
I'm running Arch, checked TERMINFO but it contains nothing. Not a problem anyway, just something I found interesting. – Chris Kempson Jun 13 '12 at 18:53

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