I discovered that when I do ssh to a machine using OS X 10.6 and use mc I do not see the graphical line drawing characters.

This does not happen if I open terminal and start mc.

I'm connecting using putty configured to use xterm-color, configuraton that works just fine if I do ssh to a linux machine.

The mc from OS X is version 4.7.0 (installed using macports).

What locale returns:

  • LC_CTYPE="C" <== ssh
  • LC_CTYPE="UTF-8" <== Terminal.app

ssh: mc > display bits shows: 7-bit ASCII (changing does not help, it defaults to the same value) Terminal.app: mc > display bits shows: UTF-8

The environment shows TERM=xterm-color in both cases Terminal.app and ss but mc looks different.

I filed a bug to mc with this information at http://www.midnight-commander.org/ticket/2339

  • On my OS X mc never shows the graphical line drawing characters.
    – Mike L.
    Sep 3, 2010 at 12:20

5 Answers 5


The following option for mc did the trick for me.

./configure --with-screen=ncurses

I also had other options but I think those are irrelevant

--enable-extcharset --enable-charset --with-edit

I was accessing osx from Ubuntu. Here is locale output on osx:


And I got xterm-256color as my TERM.


Just type

export LC_CTYPE="UTF-8"

while ssh-ing, then launch mc.


Good luck!

You might have luck changing fonts, linedrawing mode and translation settings on PuTTY.

Using Courier New or Lucida Console can give you linedrawing characters, using the Unicode linedrawing points option.

You might also want to try Windows' Terminal font.


Possible workaround is to force mc to refrain graphic characters usage for line drawing:

mc -a

In PuTTY go to your Configuration settings and select the "Window->Translation" Category on the left side of the window and in the right side under "Remote character set:" change it to Use font encoding (for me the last option in the list).

This fixed it for me.

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