Is there some general mechanism missing in text mode consoles but present in GUI terminals that I can enable for mouse-supporting applications? By "general" I mean not per-application (not application-specific). For example, aptitude, finch, w3m, etc. understand clicks in GUI terminals but not in Linux consoles with GPM. They seem to share the same problem.

Since aptitude (etc.) does include mouse support (it's just inactive in text mode consoles for some reason), the aptitude case should not be seen as "magically adding a feature that an application doesn't support". I have mouse support in Aptitude in a GUI terminal; I have GPM running on a Linux console; how do I get mouse support in Aptitude in the console?

I think there is a switch between GUI terminals and consoles (a feature that makes the difference). I guess we've all encountered a few more of those GUI/console "switches" (and I have a few more of these questions). A "switch" may affect many applications, thus becoming a broader, system-wide issue, yet the issue itself can be specific, which I hope may validate my question.

If not, for simplicity, we could make this question about aptitude and gpm. Any answer may still be a useful lead. At least it helps me learn more about getting the TTY as mouse-aware as it can get.

My purpose was to make console editing more "natural-feeling", with a special focus on nano and readline. Nano and mc were not a good lead; they are just isolated console workaround cases, not mouse support vs no support cases. Readline turned out to be a more complicated case, so it wasn't as representative as I'd hoped. However, after one gets it to work, it probably hits the same "switch". Mouse reporting events seem to be encoded differently in the console.

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    As you surmise, it requires support from the application. There's no such thing as a system-wide setting to magically add a feature that an application doesn't support. Your question needs to focus on the application you're using. (Or the library, such as readline — which neither nano nor aptitude uses.) Oct 5, 2015 at 22:18
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  • @Gilles What else do I need to do before we can reopen this question?
    – argle
    Nov 5, 2015 at 19:40
  • I voted to reopen. Nov 5, 2015 at 23:03
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    Many mouse-capable text-mode programs use shift-mousebutton to mean either handle or ignore the mouse button. e.g. some will require shift-button1 to select text (turning off the app's special handling of mouse buttons, leaving it to gpm) while some do it vice-versa. AFAIK, there's no standard and no way to configure that behaviour universally...it depends on what the program was written to do.
    – cas
    Nov 14, 2015 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


From http://www.nano-editor.org/dist/v2.2/nano.1.html

nano -m

  • Thank you. I will upvote your answer as soon as I can. I'm still waiting for more system-wide solutions, including interactive session readline.
    – argle
    Oct 5, 2015 at 19:35

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