I've got an inventory/ordering program that runs on cobol on CentOS.

The program is pretty much all text-based and looks like an old DOS program.

I did a reinstall of the server, updating from CentOS 5.5 to 6.5.

Now, my users are telling me that some of the text is very difficult to read because of the color combinations.

Different fields in the program have different combinations of character color and background color, and also change color depending on whether the field is active.

Now, most of the coloration in the program remains unchanged from before, but certain fields, especially when selected, change to a combination of character and background that is not very pleasing to the eye.

We have consulted with support for the program, and they assure us that all configuration within the program itself is fine (there is a menu specifically for defining colors in the program, but all the settings are set to default, and the fields that are giving us trouble are not configurable within the program).

I am wondering if there is somewhere else in CentOS 6.5 where character and background color is controlled (and that would have changed slightly from 5.5). Perhaps in the .bashprofile? Any ideas would be great.

  • I suppose you are talking about the ansi terminal colors. They also depend on the xresources used by your terminal emulator (if you are running X). Look at man xrdb and related man pages for more.
    – Lucas
    Dec 23, 2014 at 20:06
  • Sounds promising. Yes, I forgot to mention that they login to the program via SSH (usually using Putty in Windows). However, terminal type must be set to "linux" and not "xterm" for the program to display correctly.
    – Daniel
    Dec 24, 2014 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


If it looks like "an old DOS program", you might have a dark blue background. An easy fix for the PuTTY users would be to change the dark blue to a lighter shade. This also helps with blue text on a dark background.

Here is an example, "before" with just blue text:

enter image description here

and the result with a brighter blue:

enter image description here

On a light background, yellow is just as bad, but given the description, blue is most likely.

Further reading:

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