Nansi. Sys an Enhanced ms-dos console Driver Version 3 November 1991 Introduction Who should use nansi. Sys is a console device driver for ms-dos computers



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NANSI.SYS An Enhanced MS-DOS Console Driver Version 3.3 November 1991 1. Introduction - Who should use NANSI.SYS NANSI.SYS is a console device driver for MS-DOS computers. It exe- cutes the same ANSI cursor control sequences as does the standard con- sole driver ANSI.SYS, but significantly faster. It also offers several extra features, while still being simple, small, and cheap. You can benefit from using NANSI.SYS if: 1. you use programs (such as DIR, MORE, or NETHACK) which display text on the screen via DOS, or 2. you have an EGA or VGA, and want to use the 43- or 50-line mode of your display, or 3. you run out of space when redefining keys with ANSI.SYS, or 4. you are a programmer who uses ANSI escape sequences, and are frus- trated with slow display updates, or 5. you are porting display-intensive Unix programs to run under MS- DOS. You will not benefit from using NANSI.SYS if: 1. you never wish commands like TYPE or DIR were faster, and 2. you only use programs like Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, which bypass DOS when displaying text, and 3. you aren't interested in displaying 43 lines of text on your EGA or VGA, and 4. you have never heard of ANSI.SYS anyway. The display speed improvement you get by installing NANSI.SYS depends on the kind of programs you run. Installing NANSI.SYS will bring no improvement in display speed for programs that bypass DOS (e.g. Micro- soft Word), a 30% improvement in display speed with most programs that don't bypass DOS, a 50% improvement with "optimized" programs (see chapter 9 below), and a 95% improvement with "optimized" programs that avoid scrolling. One "optimized" program, COPY /b, comes with DOS. To test the speed improvement yourself, create a long text file named foo.txt, and display it with COPY /b foo.txt con: with NANSI.SYS installed- it will go by very quickly. This speed increase occurs even when running in a window in Microsoft Windows 3.0. 2. Compatibility NANSI.SYS has been tested on IBM PC/XT, /AT, and PS/2 systems. It should run on any CGA, MDA, EGA, or VGA compatible video card. It is compatible with Microsoft Windows 3.0. Unlike many display speedup progams, it does not use wierd hardware scrolling tricks, and there- fore remains completely compatible with programs that write directly to the screen. November 29, 1991 - 2 - 3. Copyright status This program and documentation is Copyright 1986, 1991 Daniel Kegel. The executable program and its documentation may be freely distri- buted. If you use this program for education or at home, you are encouraged to send a US$10 donation to the author. If you use it for business purposes, you are required to purchase a right-to-use license by send- ing US$10 to the author. Copies of the driver on 360 KB floppy, together with printed documen- tation, may be obtained from the author for US$35. Copies of the driver's source code are also available. License fees, donations, and correspondence (in English or German) should be directed to the author at the following address: Daniel Kegel 535 E. Mendocino St. Altadena, CA. 91001 USA or at the Internet E-mail addresses dank@blacks.jpl.nasa.gov or dank@cco.caltech.edu 4. Version The version number can be found with the DOS command TYPE NANSI.SYS. This documentation is for version 3.3, created November 1991. 5. Installation and System Requirements NANSI.SYS version 3.3 is distributed as the archive NANSI33.ZIP, with the following contents: NANSI.SYS - the device driver NANSI.DOC - this documentation file RAW.C - how to set and clear RAW mode for faster screen output RAW.H - definitions for users of RAW.C GC.ON - text file which, when TYPEd, turns on the graphics cursor NANSI.SYS requires MS-DOS version 2.0 or higher, and uses about 3 kilobytes of system RAM. To install NANSI.SYS on your computer, copy the file NANSI.SYS to your boot disk (usually C:), and include one of the following statements in the configuration file CONFIG.SYS on your boot disk: For IBM VGA and Vega VGA cards, or if you don't know (or care) what kind of card you have: DEVICE=NANSI.SYS November 29, 1991 - 3 - For Paradise VGA Plus cards: DEVICE=NANSI.SYS /t54 /t55 /t56 /t57 For VGA cards using the Oak Technology OTI-067: DEVICE=NANSI.SYS /t4F /t50 /t51 For VGA cards using the Trident Microsystems TVGA 8900: DEVICE=NANSI.SYS /t50 /t51 /t52 /t53 /t54 /t55 /t56 /t57 /t58 /t59 /t5A 6. COMMAND-LINE OPTIONS 6.1. /K : force Nansi to use extended keyboard BIOS calls which sense F11 and F12 When IBM introduced the extended keyboard with F11 and F12 keys, and separated the numeric keypad from the arrow keys, it also introduced an extended way of reading the keyboard with BIOS. The old way still works, but doesn't recognize the extended keys. Normally, Nansi tries to detect whether the extended keyboard BIOS calls are available, and if so, uses them. However, by giving the /k option you can force Nansi to use these calls even if Nansi doesn't think they are there. This option is included for compatibility with ANSI.SYS. 6.2. /X : tell Nansi to let you redefine the extended keys indepen- dantly IBM's extended keyboard BIOS calls added something new: they return different scan codes for different keys with the same meaning. For instance, they return 71 for the numeric keypad HOME key, but 224;71 for the gray HOME key. Nansi returns 71 when either of these keys are pressed. However, the /X option causes these keys to be treated dif- ferently during keyboard redefinition. For example, if you start Nansi with the /X option, you can define just the gray HOME key to say "dir/w" by sending the string ESC [224;71;"dir/w";13p 6.3. /S : tell Nansi to be secure, and disable keyboard redefini- tion Although it is nice to be able to redefine the keyboard with escape sequences, it is a gaping security hole. To prevent trojan horse attacks from messages in text files, archives, and programs downloaded from the outside world, disable this feature by invoking Nansi with the /s option in config.sys. For example, DEVICE=NANSI.SYS /s /t54 /t55 /t56 /t57 This saves a few bytes of memory, too. November 29, 1991 - 4 - 6.4. /Tnn : tell Nansi that video mode nn is a text mode No two VGA cards seem to have the same set of video mode codes. The same mode number can indicate a graphics mode on one card, and a text mode on another card. Worse yet, BIOS can't tell you what kind of mode it's in. This is a problem because Nansi gets its speed by bypassing BIOS, which it can only do in text modes. Nansi solves this dilemma by maintaining a 256-entry table, one entry per possible video mode. By default, the table says that only modes 0, 1, 2, 3, and 7 are text modes. You can add new text modes with the /t option. For instance, if modes D hex and 50 hex are text modes, you would invoke Nansi as follows: DEVICE=NANSI.SYS /t0D /t50 How to tell whether you need /t: If your board is in a non-IBM text video mode (for instance, mode 50 hex), and you haven't added /t50 after NANSI.SYS in CONFIG.SYS, the cursor will disappear after a CLS command, and the text output will be sluggish; furthermore, if you turn on the graphics cursor (by TYPEing the file GC.ON which came with NANSI), the beginning and end of every text line will be garbled. How to tell whether you don't need /t: If you mistakenly specify a graphics mode with the /t option, the display will be garbled while in that mode. Get back to normal by typing MODE CO80 or rebooting, and remove the offending /t option from config.sys. November 29, 1991 - 5 - 7. ANSI Control Sequences While putting text up on the screen, NANSI.SYS keeps a lookout for the escape character (chr(27), known as ESC); this character signals the start of a terminal control sequence. Terminal control sequences fol- low the format ESC [ param; param; ...; param cmd where ESC is the escape character chr$(27). [ is the left bracket character. param is an ASCII decimal number, or a string in quotes. cmd is a case-specific letter identifying the command. Usually, zero, one, or two parameters are given. If parameters are omitted, they usually default to 1; however, some commands (KKR) treat the no-parameter case specially. Spaces are not allowed between parameters. For example, both ESC[1;1H and ESC[H send the cursor to the home posi- tion (1,1), which is the upper left. In general, if you ask the cursor to go beyond the edge of the screen, it goes to the appropriate edge. (ANSI.SYS was not always so nice.) The following C macro illustrates how one could print a string at a given location on the screen: #define printXY(x,y,s) printf("%c[%d;%dH%s", 27, y, x, s); Either single or double quotes may be used to quote a string. Each character inside a quoted string is equivalent to one numeric parame- ter. Quoted strings are normally used only for the Keyboard Key Reas- signment command. Each ANSI control sequence supported by NANSI.SYS is described below. The descriptions follow the format 7.0.1. ABBREVIATED_NAME: what_to_send LONG NAME where ABBREVIATED_NAME is a short name for the sequence, what_to_send tells you what characters make up the sequence, and LONG NAME is a long name for the sequence. November 29, 1991 - 6 - 7.1. Sequences dealing with Cursor Positioning 7.1.1. CUP: ESC[#;#H Cursor Position Moves the cursor to the position specified by the parameters. The first parameter, y, specifies the row number; the second parameter, x, specifies the column number. If no parameters are given, the cursor is moved to (1,1), the upper left corner of the screen. 7.1.2. HVP: ESC[#;#f Horizontal and Vertical Position This is identical to Cursor Position. Don't ask me why it exists. 7.1.3. CUU: ESC[#A Cursor Up Moves the cursor up the given number of rows without changing its hor- izontal position. 7.1.4. CUD: ESC[#B Cursor Down Moves the cursor down the given number of rows without changing its horizontal position. 7.1.5. CUF: ESC[#C Cursor Forward Moves the cursor right the given number of columns without changing its vertical position. 7.1.6. CUB: ESC[#D Cursor Backward Moves the cursor left the given number of columns without changing its vertical position. 7.1.7. DSR: ESC[#n Device Status, Report! # must be 6. The sequence ESC[6n causes the console driver to output a CPR (Cursor Position Report) sequence. Note: This sequence is not supported by the ANSI.SYS emulator built into Microsoft Windows 1.x or 2.x. November 29, 1991 - 7 - 7.1.8. CPR: ESC[#;#R Cursor Position Report The console driver outputs this sequence upon reciept of a DSR sequence. The first parameter is the cursor's vertical position; the second parameter is the cursor's horizontal position. Note: Contrary to the MS-DOS manual, ANSI.SYS outputs a carriage return after this sequence. NANSI.SYS faithfully reproduces this quirk. The resulting string can have up to eleven characters. For example, if you have a 100-line display (wow), and the cursor is at (x=132,y=100), the string will be ESC[132;100R followed by a carriage return. This should never be sent to the console driver. Also note: This sequence is not supported by the ANSI.SYS emulator built into Microsoft Windows 1.x or 2.x. Here is an example of how to use DSR/CPR to find the current cursor position with the C language: /* Code fragment to get current cursor X and Y from console */ /* Be sure to disable line-buffering on stdin before calling */ int x, y, c; printf("\033[6n"); fflush(stdout); if (getchar() != '\033' || getchar() != '[') abort("Console not responding to DSR?"); for (y=0; isdigit(c=getchar()); y=y*10+(c-'0')); if (c != ';') abort("Console CPR faulty?"); for (x=0; isdigit(c=getchar()); x=x*10+(c-'0')); if (c != 'R') abort("Console CPR faulty?"); #ifndef VT100 getchar(); /* ignore trailing CR */ #endif This can also be useful for sensing screen size. 7.1.9. SCP: ESC[s Save Cursor Position Saves the cursor's X and Y locations in an internal variable. See RCP. 7.1.10. RCP: ESC[u Restore Cursor Position Moves cursor to the position it held when the last SCP sequence was received. November 29, 1991 - 8 - 7.2. Sequences that Edit the Display 7.2.1. ED: ESC[#J Erase in Display # must be 2. Clears the entire screen. Note: Contrary to the MS-DOS manual, ANSI.SYS also moves the cursor to the upper left corner of the screen. Contrary to the ANSI standard, ANSI.SYS does not insist on # being 2. NANSI.SYS faithfully repro- duces these quirks. (Version 2.2 of NANSI.SYS insisted on # being 2, and it caused compatibility problems with programs that ignored the MS-DOS manual. Sigh.) 7.2.2. EL: ESC[K Erase in Line Deletes from the cursor to the end of the line. 7.2.3. IL: ESC[#L Insert Lines The cursor line and all lines below it move down # lines, leaving blank space. The cursor position is unchanged. The bottommost # lines are lost. Note: This is not supported in ANSI.SYS. 7.2.4. DL: ESC[#M Delete Lines The block of # lines at and below the cursor are deleted; all lines below them move up # lines to fill in the gap, leaving # blank lines at the bottom of the screen. The cursor position is unchanged. Note: This is not supported in ANSI.SYS. 7.2.5. ICH: ESC[#@ Insert Characters The cursor character and all characters to the right of it move right # columns, leaving behind blank space. The cursor position is unchanged. The rightmost # characters on the line are lost. Note: This is not supported in ANSI.SYS. 7.2.6. DCH: ESC[#P Delete Characters The block of # characters at and to the right of the cursor are deleted; all characters to the right of it move left # columns, leav- ing behind blank space. The cursor position is unchanged. Note: This is not supported in ANSI.SYS. November 29, 1991 - 9 - 7.3. Sequences that Set Modes 7.3.1. KKR: ESC["string"p Keyboard Key Reassignment The first char (or, for function keys, two chars) of the string gives the key to redefine; the rest of the string is the key's new value. To specify unprintable chars, give the ASCII value of the char outside of quotes, as a normal parameter. IBM function keys are two byte strings starting with zero. For instance, ESC[0;59;"dir a:";13p rede- fines function key 1 to have the value "dir a:" followed by the ENTER key. There are about 500 bytes available to hold redefinition strings. Once this space fills up, new strings are ignored. To clear all definitions, send the string ESC[p. (There was no way to do this in ANSI.SYS.) This feature is a security risk, and can be disabled with the /s option when loading Nansi in config.sys. See Command-line Options above. Here's a table of the ASCII values of the common function keys; for others, see the IBM Basic manual or the "IBM PS/2 and PC BIOS Inter- face Technical Reference," a steal at $80 from IBM (1-800-IBM-PCTB). F1 0;59 F2 0;60 F3 0;61 F4 0;62 F5 0;63 F6 0;64 F7 0;65 F8 0;66 F9 0;67 F10 0;68 F11 0;133 F12 0;134 HOME 0;71 END 0;79 PGUP 0;73 PGDN 0;81 INS 0;82 DEL 0;83 LEFT 0;75 RIGHT 0;77 UP 0;72 DOWN 0;80 When /X is given, the gray Insert, Delete, Home, End, PageUp, PageDn, and arrow keys on an Extended keyboard can be redefined separately by using 224 rather than 0 as the initial byte. 7.3.2. SGR: ESC[#;#;...#m Set Graphics Rendition The Set Graphics Rendition command is used to select foreground and background colors or attributes. When you use multiple parameters, they are executed in sequence, and the effects are cumulative. Attrib Value 0 All attributes off (normal white on black) 1 Bold 4 Underline 5 Blink 7 Reverse Video 30-37 foreground black/red/green/yellow/blue/magenta/cyan/white 40-47 background black/red/green/yellow/blue/magenta/cyan/white November 29, 1991 - 10 - 7.3.3. SM: ESC[=nh Set Video Mode This sequence selects one of the available video modes. The IBM BIOS supports several video modes; the codes given in the BIOS documenta- tion are used as parameters to the Set Mode command. (In bitmap modes, the cursor is simulated with a small blob (^V).) Mode Code Value 0 text 40x25 Black & White 1 text 40x25 Color 2 text 80x25 Black & White 3 text 80x25 Color 4 bitmap 320x200 4 bits/pixel 5 bitmap 320x200 1 bit/pixel 6 bitmap 640x200 1 bit/pixel 13 bitmap 320x200 4 bits/pixel 14 bitmap 640x200 4 bits/pixel 15 bitmap 640x350 1 bit/pixel 16 bitmap 640x350 4 bits/pixel 17 bitmap 640x480 1 bit/pixel 18 bitmap 640x480 4 bits/pixel 19 bitmap 320x200 8 bits/pixel Modes 0, 1, and 4-19 require a CGA, EGA or VGA. Modes 13-16 require an EGA or VGA. Modes 17-19 require a VGA. Other graphics cards may support other video modes. The EGA and VGA let you use a shorter character cell in text modes in order to squeeze more lines of text out of the 25-line text modes. To enter short line mode, set the desired 25-line text mode (0 to 3), then Set Mode 43. For instance: ESC[=3h ESC[=43h. To exit short line mode, set the desired 25-line text mode again. On IBM VGA cards, this sequence gives you a 50 line screen. NANSI.SYS ignores mode 43 unless there is an EGA or VGA on your computer. November 29, 1991 - 11 - 7.3.4. SM: ESC[?nh Set Nonvideo Mode This sequence is used to set non-video modes. The only value sup- ported is Mode Code Value when set 7 Cursor wraps at end of line Setting mode 7 tells the cursor to wrap around to the next line when it passes the end of a line. 7.3.5. RM: ESC[?nl Reset Nonvideo Mode This sequence is used to reset non-video modes. The only value sup- ported is Mode Code Value when reset 7 Cursor stops at end of line Resetting mode 7 tells the cursor to 'stick' at the end of the line instead of wrapping to the next line. November 29, 1991 - 12 - 8. Background - What does a console driver do, and how? A console driver consists of subroutines which are called by MS-DOS. MS-DOS itself is mostly just subroutines which can be called by appli- cation programs. Programs that want to display text on the screen can call the "Write" subroutine provided by MS-DOS. This subroutine in turn calls the "Write" subroutine of the console driver. When you, for example, type C> type foo.txt COMMAND.COM uses the "Read" subroutine of MS-DOS to read the file "foo.txt" from the disk; it then uses the "Write" subroutine of MS-DOS with the file's contents. MS-DOS then calls the console driver's "Write" subroutine, which finally puts the data up on the screen. Both ANSI.SYS and NANSI.SYS use IBM Video BIOS to control the screen. However, NANSI.SYS writes directly to the screen in text modes; this allows much faster operation. 9. How to Display Text Quickly Output to the screen via DOS is usually slow because characters are sent one-at-a-time through several layers of software. Application programs often call a DOS function for each character or line. To avoid this overhead, application programs should write as many characters per DOS call as possible (in C programs, this means using setbuf(), fflush(), and buffered output). Another problem is that application programs sometimes send line after line of text, letting the cursor stay at the bottom of the screen. This forces the console driver to scroll the entire screen up once for each line displayed, which is rather expensive. This can be fixed by having the application program clear the screen and home the cursor after each page of output. Finally, the biggest problem is that DOS calls the device driver once or twice for each character written. Fortunately, DOS can be told to pass the entire write request directly to the device driver; this is called "raw" mode. The files RAW.C and RAW.H, included in this package, provide an easy way to set and clear "raw" mode, to turn break checking on and off, and to check for keys- trokes when in raw mode. Even if you follow all these rules, output with ANSI.SYS will still be very slow, simply because IBM did a bad job designing BIOS, and because ANSI.SYS was written with total disregard for performance. NANSI.SYS, on the other hand, was written by a performance fanatic. November 29, 1991 - 13 - 10. NANSI and Microsoft Windows Microsoft Windows 1.x and 2.x allowed you to run command.com in a win- dow, but did not give you access to NANSI.SYS. Windows 3.0 gives you full access to NANSI.SYS, even when running command.com in a window (wow!). However, you can only do this if you have a 386-based com- puter (boo, hiss); on other computers, Windows runs command.com only in full screen mode. Under Microsoft Windows 3.0, if you write text to stdout in RAW mode, the display is not refreshed until the end of the write; no intermedi- ate scrolling is shown. I suspect this is because Windows doesn't refresh the display until display memory hasn't been touched for a few milliseconds. 11. New in version 3.3 of NANSI.SYS Fixed bug that caused erratic behavior after ESC[p. Bug was present in all prior versions of NANSI. Fixed a few typos in documentation. 12. New in version 3.2 of NANSI.SYS Can finally read F11 and F12! New /K command-line option forces Nansi to use Extended Keyboard BIOS calls if for some reason Nansi doesn't recognize the extended key- board. New /X command-line option lets user redefine "new" cursor motion keys independently of "old" cursor motion keys. Both of these switches are compatible with the switches of the same name in ANSI.SYS. 13. New in version 3.1 of NANSI.SYS A new escape sequence has been added to enable and disable the simu- lated cursor in graphics mode (see SET MODE 99). The graphics cursor is disabled by default. Nansi can now sense options given on the DEVICE=NANSI.SYS line in config.sys. /S command-line option has been added to disable the keyboard redefin- ition escape sequence. This closes up a big security loophole. /T command-line option has been added to allow the user to tell Nansi about nonstandard text video modes (see COMMAND-LINE OPTIONS). This is important if you want to use non-IBM text modes properly, as Nansi treats nonstandard modes as graphics by default, which results in slower display. November 29, 1991 - 14 - 14. New in version 3.0 of NANSI.SYS Now obeys BIOS's idea of number of screen lines, when supported. Works properly when on video pages greater than zero, too. Supports 132-column displays. Deleted Output Character Translation feature. It took up 260 bytes, and nobody ever used it. Fixed bug related to setting background color while in graphics mode. No longer assumes AH is zero upon entry to driver. November 29, 1991 - 15 - 15. Limitations in the current version of NANSI.SYS Video modes are specified in hexadecimal on the command line, and in decimal in escape sequences. This is a needless inconsistancy, but since users' manuals usually specify the mode numbers in hex, it shouldn't be too big a bother. You can convert a hexadecimal number to decimal in BASIC with the print command. For example, from the DOS prompt, typing C:>basic print &h7f system displays "127". All parameter values must be between 0 and 255. The maximum number of characters available for keyboard redefinition is 500. Any single keyboard redefinition escape sequence must be shorter than (500 - (total keyboard redefinition space already used)) bytes. Insert and delete character do not work in graphics modes. Graphics mode writing is slow. If this bothers you, try NNANSI, which is someone else's modification of NANSI v2.2 to attack just this prob- lem. Does not support erase-to-end-of-screen and other useful functions. Nansi determines whether the BIOS number-of-screen-lines variable is supported by checking for an EGA card. There might be a better way. Nansi only checks for an EGA or VGA card at startup time. If you have two video cards installed, and one shows more text lines per screen than the other, AND you switch between the cards without rebooting, Nansi could conceivably become confused about the number of text lines on the screen. November 29, 1991


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