NWG/RFC# 734 MRC 07-OCT-77 08:46 41953

SUPDUP Display Protocol Page 1

Network Working Group                                 Mark Crispin
Request for Comments 734                                     SU-AI
NIC 41953                                           7 October 1977

                  SUPDUP Protocol


This document describes  the SUPDUP protocol,  a highly efficient  display
telnet protocol.  It originally started as a private protocol between  the
ITS systems at MIT to allow a user at any one of these systems to use  one
of the others as a display.  At the current writing, SUPDUP user  programs
also exist  for  Data  Disc  and  Datamedia  displays  at  SU-AI  and  for
Datamedias at SRI-KL.  The author is not aware of any SUPDUP servers other
than at the four MIT ITS sites.

The advantage  of  the  SUPDUP  protocol  over  an  individual  terminal's
protocol is that SUPDUP defines a "virtual" or "software" display terminal
that implements relevant  cursor motion operations.   The protocol is  not
built on  any  particular  display  terminal but  rather  on  the  set  of
functions common to all display terminals; hence it is completely  device-
independent.  In addition, the protocol also provides for terminals  which
cannot handle certain operations, such as line or character insert/delete.
In fact,  it is  more than  this.   It provides  for terminals  which  are
missing any set of features, all the way down to model 33 Teletypes.

The advantage over the TELNET protocol  is that SUPDUP takes advantage  of
the full  capabilities of  display  terminals, although  it also  has  the
ability to run printing terminals.

It is to be  noted that SUPDUP operates  independently from TELNET; it  is
not an option to  the TELNET protocol.   In addition, certain  assumptions
are made about the  server and the user  programs and their  capabilities.
Specifically, it is  assumed that the  operating system on  a server  host
provides all the display-oriented features of ITS.  However, a server  may
elect not to do certain display operations available in SUPDUP; the SUPDUP
protocol is far-reaching enough so  that the protocol allows terminals  to
be handled  as well  as that  host can  handle terminals  in general.   Of
course, if a host does not  support display terminals in any special  way,
there is no point in bothering  to implement a SUPDUP server since  TELNET
will work just as well.


The SUPDUP protocol originated as the internal protocol used between parts
of ITS, and between ITS and "intelligent" terminals.  Over the network,  a
user host acts like an intelligent terminal programmed for ITS.

The way terminal  output works  in ITS is  as follows:   The user  program
tells the system to  do various operations,  such as printing  characters,
clearing the screen, moving the cursor, etc.  These operations are  formed
into 8-bit characters  (using the  %TD codes described  below) and  stored
into a  buffer.   At interrupt  level,  as the  terminal  demands  output,
characters are  removed  from  the buffer  and  translated  into  terminal
dependent codes.  At this time  padding and cursor motion optimization are
also done.

In some cases, the interrupt side does not run on the same machine as  the
user program.  SUPDUP terminals have their "interrupt side" running in the
user host.  When  SUPDUP is  run between two  ITS's, the  SUPDUP user  and
server programs and the network simply move characters from the buffer  in
the server machine to the buffer in the user machine.  The interrupt  side
then runs on the user machine just as if the characters had been generated

Due to the highly interactive characteristics of both the SUPDUP  protocol
and the ITS system, all transactions are strictly character at a time  and
all echoing  is  remote.  In  addition,  all padding  and  cursor  control
optimization must be done by the user.

Because this is also the internals of ITS, the right to change it any time
if necessary to provide new features  is reserved by MIT.  In  particular,
the initial  negotiation  is probably  going  to be  changed  to  transmit
additional variables, and additional %TD codes  may be added at any  time.
User programs should ignore those they don't know about.


The SUPDUP server listens on socket 137 octal.  ICP proceeds in the normal
way for establishing 8-bit connections.   After the ICP is completed,  the
user side  sends several  parameters to  the server  side in  the form  of
36.-bit words.  Each  word is  sent through  the 8-bit  connection as  six
6-bit bytes, most-significant first.  Each byte is in the low-order 6 bits
of a character.  The first word is the negative of the number of variables
to follow in the high order 18. bits (the low-order 18. bits are ignored),
followed by the  values of  the TCTYP,  TTYOPT, TCMXV,  TCMXH, and  TTYROL
terminal descriptor variables (these  are the names they  are known by  at
ITS sites).  These  variables are  36.-bit binary numbers  and define  the
terminal characteristics for the virtual terminal at the REMOTE host.

The count is for future compatability.  If more variables need to be  sent
in the future, the server should assume "reasonable" default values if the
user does not specify them.  PDP-10 fans will recognize the format of  the
count (ie, -count,,0) as being an  AOBJN pointer.  At the present  writing
there are five variables hence this word should be -5,,0.

The TCTYP variable defines the terminal type. It MUST be 7 (%TNSFW). Any

other value is a violation of protocol.

The TTYOPT  variable specifies  what capabilities  or options  the  user's
terminal has.  A bit being true implies that the terminal has this option.
This variable also includes user options which the user may wish to  alter
at his or her own descretion; these options are included since they may be
specified along with the terminal capabilities in the initial negotiation.
See below for the relevant TTYOPT bits.

The TCMXV variable specifies the screen height in number of lines.

The TCMXH variable specifies the line width in number of characters.  This
value is one less  than the screen width  (ITS indicates line overflow  by
outputting an exclamation  point at  the end  of the  display line  before
moving to the  next line).  Note:  the terminal must  not do an  automatic
CRLF when a  character is  printed in the  rightmost column.   If this  is
unavoidable, the user SUPDUP must decrement the width it sends by one.

Note: Setting either the TCMXV or  TCMXH dimension greater than 128.  will
work, but will have some problems as coordinates are sometimes represented
in only  7 bits.   The main  problems occur  in the  SUPDUP protocol  when
sending the cursor position after an output reset and in ITS user programs
using the display position codes ^PH and ^PV.

The TTYROL variable specifies the "glitch count" when scrolling.  This  is
the number of lines to scroll up when scrolling is required.  If zero, the
terminal is not  capable of  scrolling.  1 is  the usual  value, but  some
terminals glitch up by more than one line when they scroll.


The relevant TTYOPT bits for SUPDUP usage follow.  The values are given in
octal, with the left and right 18-bit  halves separated by ",," as in  the
usual PDP-10 convention.

Bit name alue Meaning

%TOALT 200000,,0 haracters 175 and 176 are converted to

altmode (033) on input.

%TOERS   40000,,0       his  terminal  is capable  of selectively
                        erasing its  screen.  That is, it supports
                        the %TDEOL,  the %TDDLF,  and (optionally)
                        the  %TDEOF  operations.   For   terminals
                        which   can   only   do   single-character
                        erasing, see %TOOVR.

%TOMVB 10000,,0 his terminal is capable of backspacing

(ie, moving the cursor backwards).

%TOSAI 4000,,0 his terminal has the Stanford/ITS

extended ASCII graphics character set.

%TOOVR    1000,,0       his terminal is  capable of overprinting;
                        if  two  characters  are  displayed in the
                        same  position, they will both be visible,
                        rather than one replacing the other.

                        Lack of this capability but the capability
                        to backspace (see %TOMVB) implies that the
                        terminal can  do single  character erasing
                        by overstriking with a space.  This allows
                        terminals without the %TOERS capability to
                        have display-style "rubout processing", as
                        this capability depends upon either %TOERS
                        or [%TOMVB and not %TOOVR].

%TOMVU 400,,0 his terminal is capable of moving the

cursor upwards.

%TOLWR      20,,0       his  terminal's  keyboard is  capable  of
                        generating lowercase characters;  this bit
                        is mostly provided for programs which want
                        to know this information.

%TOFCI      10,,0       his  terminal's  keyboard is  capable  of
                        generating  CONTROL and META characters as
                        described below.

%TOLID       2,,0       his  terminal  is  capable  of doing line
                        insert/delete operations,  ie, it supports
                        %TDILP and %TDDLP.


Bit name alue Meaning

%TPCBS       0,,40      his terminal is  using  the  "intelligent
                        terminal protocol".
                         THIS BIT MUST BE ON.

%TPORS       0,,10      he server should  process  output  resets
                        instead of ignoring them.
                        ABORTING OUTPUT.

The following bits are user  option bits.  They may be  set or not set  at
the user's discretion.  The bits that are labelled "normally on" are those
that are normally  set on when  a terminal is  initialized (ie, by  typing
[CALL] on a local terminal).

Bit name alue Meaning

%TOCLC  100000,,0       onvert  lower-case  input to  upper case.
                        Many  terminals  have  a  "shift lock" key
                        which makes this option useless.
                         NORMALLY OFF.

%TOSA1    2000,,0       haracters  001-037  should  be  displayed
                        using  the  Stanford/ITS  extended   ASCII
                        graphics character set instead of  uparrow
                        followed by 100+character.
                         NORMALLY OFF.

%TOMOR     200,,0       he   system   should  provide  "**MORE**"
                        processing when  the  cursor  reaches  the
                        bottom  line  of  the  screen.    **MORE**
                        processing is described in ITS TTY.
                         NORMALLY ON.


Note: only the parts of the intelligent terminal protocol relevant to

SUPDUP are discussed here. For more information, read ITS TTY.


There are two  character sets  available for  use with  SUPDUP; the  7-bit
character set of standard ASCII, and the 12-bit character set of  extended
ASCII.  Extended ASCII has 5 high order  or "bucky" bits on input and  has
graphics for octal 000-037 and 177 (see the section entitled "Stanford/ITS
character set" for more details).  The two character sets are identical on
output since the protocol  specifies that the host  should never send  the
standard ASCII  formatting  characters  (ie,  TAB,  LF,  VT,  FF,  CR)  as
formatting characters; the characters whose  octal values are the same  as
these formatting characters are never output unless the user job has these
characters enabled (setting %TOSAI and %TOSA1 generally does this).

Input differs dramatically  between the 7-bit  and 12-bit character  sets.
In the 7-bit character set, all characters input whose value is 037  octal
or less  are assumed  to be  (ASCII) control  characters.  In  the  12-bit
character set,  there are  5 "bucky"  bits which  may be  attached to  the
character.  The two most  important of these are  CONTROL and META,  which
form a 9-bit character set.  TOP  is used to distinguish between  printing
graphics in the extended character set and ASCII controls.  The other  two
are reserved and should be ignored.  Since both 7-bit and 12-bit terminals
are commonly in use, 0001, 0301, and 0341 are considered to be  <CONTROL>A
on input by most programs, while 4001 is considered to be downwards arrow.


Many programs and hosts do not process 12-bit input.  In this case, 12-bit
input is folded down to 7-bit as follows: TOP and META are discarded.   If
CONTROL is on, then if the 7-bit  part of the character specifies a  lower
case alphabetic it is converted to upper  case; then if the 7-bit part  is
between 077 and 137 the  100 bit is complemented or  if the 7-bit part  is
040 the 040 bit is subtracted  (that's right, <CONTROL>?  is converted  to
[RUBOUT] and <CONTROL>[SPACE] is  converted to [NULL]).   In any case  the
CONTROL bit is discarded,  and the remainder is  treated as a 7-bit  ASCII
character.  It should be noted that  in this case downwards arrow is  read
by the program as standard ASCII <CONTROL>A.



Under normal circumstances, characters input from the keyboard are sent to
the foreign host as is.  There  are two exceptions; the first occurs  when
an octal 034  character is to  be sent; it  must be quoted  by being  sent
twice, because 034 is used as  an escape character for protocol  commands.
The second  exception occurs  when  %TOFCI is  set  and a  character  with
non-zero bucky bits is to be sent.  In this case, the character, which  is
in the 12-bit form:

Name alue escription

%TXTOP 000 his character has the [TOP] key depressed.

%TXSFL 000 eserved, must be zero.

%TXSFT 000 eserved, must be zero.

%TXMTA 400 his character has the [META] key depressed.

%TXCTL 200 his character has the [CONTROL] key depressed.

%TXASC 177 he ASCII portion of the character

is sent as three bytes.  The first  byte is always 034 octal (that is  why
034 must be  quoted).  The next  byte contains the  "bucky bits", ie,  the
%TXTOP through %TXCTL bits,  shifted over 7 bits  (ie, %TXTOP becomes  20)
with the 100  bit on.   The third  byte contains  the %TXASC  part of  the
character.  Hence the character <CONTROL><META>[LINE FEED] is sent as  034
103 012.


The  intelligent  terminal  protocol  also  is  involved  when  a  network
interrupt (INR/INS) is  received by  the user program.   The user  program
should increment a count of received network interrupts when this happens.
It should not do any output, and if possible abort any output in progress,
if this count is greater than zero  (NOTE: the program MUST allow for  the
count to go less than zero).


Display output  is  somewhat  simpler.   Codes less  than  200  octal  are
printing characters and  are displayed  on the terminal  (see the  section
describing the "Stanford/ITS character set").  Codes greater than or equal
to 200 (octal) are known as "%TD codes", so called since their names begin
with %TD.  The %TD codes that are relevant to SUPDUP operation are  listed
here.  Any other code  received should be ignored,  although a bug  report
might be sent  to the server's  maintainers.  Note that  the normal  ASCII
formatting characters (011 - 015) do NOT have their formatting sense under
SUPDUP and should not occur at all unless the Stanford/ITS extended  ASCII
character set is in use (ie, %TOSAI is set in the TTYOPT word).

For cursor positioning operations, the top left corner is (0,0), ie,

vertical position 0, horizontal position 0.

%TD code alue Meaning

%TDMOV  200     General cursor position code.  Followed by
                        four bytes;  the  first  two are the "old"
                        vertical  and horizontal positions and may
                        be  ignored.    The  next  two are the new
                        vertical  and  horizontal  positions.  The
                        cursor  should be moved  to this position.

                        On printing consoles (non %TOMVU), the old
                        vertical position may differ from the true
                        vertical position;  this  can  occur  when
                        scrolling.  In this case, the user program
                        should set  its  idea of the old  vertical
                        position to what the %TDMOV says and  then
                        proceed.  Hence a %TDMOV with an old  vpos
                        of 20. and a new vpos of 22. should always
                        move the "cursor" down two lines.  This is
                        used to prevent the vertical position from
                        becoming infinite.

%TDMV1  201     An  internal  cursor  motion  code   which
                        should not be seen;  but if it is,  it has
                        two  argument bytes after it and should be
                        treated the same as %TDMV0.

%TDEOF  202     Erase  to  end  of  screen.   This  is  an
                        optional function  since many terminals do
                        not support this.   If  the terminal  does
                        not  support this  function,  it should be
                        treated the same as %TDEOL.

                        %TDEOF does an erase to end of line,  then
                        erases  all lines lower on the screen than
                        the cursor.  The cursor does not move.


%TD code alue Meaning

%TDDLF 204 Clear the character position the cursor is

on. The cursor does not move.

%TDCRL  207     If the cursor is not on the bottom line of
                        the screen, move  cursor to  the beginning
                        of the next line and clear that line.   If
                        the  cursor is at the bottom line,  scroll

%TDNOP 210 No-op; should be ignored.

%TDORS  214     Output reset.   This code serves as a data
                        mark for  aborting  output much as  IAC DM
                        does in the ordinary TELNET protocol.

%TDQOT  215     Quotes the following  character.   This is
                        used  when sending 8-bit codes  which  are
                        not  %TD codes,  for instance when loading
                        programs  into  an  intelligent  terminal.
                        The  following  character should be passed
                        through intact to the terminal.

%TDFS   216     Non-destructive forward space.  The cursor
                        moves right one position;  this  code will
                        not be sent at the end of a line.

%TDMV0  217     General cursor position code.  Followed by
                        two bytes; the new vertical and horizontal

%TDCLR 220 Erase the screen. Home the cursor to the

top left hand corner of the screen.

%TDBEL 221 Generate an audio tone, bell, whatever.

%TDILP  223     Insert blank lines at the cursor; followed
                        by a byte containing a count of the number
                        of blank lines to insert.   The  cursor is
                        unmoved.   The line the cursor is  on  and
                        all lines below it move down;  lines moved
                        off the bottom of the screen are lost.


%TD code alue Meaning

%TDICP  225     Insert  blank  character  positions at the
                        cursor;  followed by  a count.  The cursor
                        is unmoved.   The character the  cursor is
                        on and all characters to the right  on the
                        current line move to the right; characters
                        moved off the end of the line are lost.

%TDDCP  226     Delete characters at the cursor;  followed
                        by a count.   The cursor is unmoved.   The
                        first  character  deleted  is the  one the
                        cursor is on.  Newly-created characters at
                        the end of the line are blank.

%TDBOW 227 Display black characters on white screen.



This section describes the extended ASCII character set. It originated

with the character set developed at SAIL but was modified for 1968 ASCII.

This character set only  applies to terminals with  the %TOSAI and  %TOFCI
bits set in its TTYOPT word.  For non-%TOSAI terminals, the standard ASCII
printing  characters  are  the  only  available  output  characters.   For
non-%TOFCI terminals, the standard ASCII characters are the only available
input characters.


The first table describes the printing characters.  For output, the  7-bit
code is sent (terminal operations are performed by %TD codes).  For input,
the characters with values 000-037 and 177 must have the %TXTOP bit on  to
indicate the graphic is intended rather than a function or ASCII control.

Value haracter



In addition, the following special characters exist for input only.  These
characters are  function keys  rather than  printing characters;  however,
some of these  characters have some  format effect or  graphic which  they
echo as; the host, not the SUPDUP program, handles any such mappings.

Value haracter sual echo Usual Function

 0000   NULL]
 0010   BACK SPACE]                     text formatting
 0011   TAB]                            text formatting
 0012   LINE FEED]                      text formatting
 0013   VT]                             text formatting
 0014   FORM]                           text formatting
 0015   RETURN]                 text formatting
 0032   CALL]   uparrow-Z       escape to system
 0033   ALTMODE]        ozenge or $     special activation
 0037   BACK NEXT]      parrow-underscore       onitor command prefix
 0177   RUBOUT]                 character delete
 4101   ESCAPE]                 local terminal command
 4102   BREAK]                          local subsystem escape
 4103   CLEAR]
 4110   HELP]                           requests a help message


For all input characters, the following  "bucky bits" may be added to  the
character.  Their interpretation depends entirely upon the host.  <TOP> is
not listed here, as it  has been considered part  of the character in  the
previous  tables.

<CONTROL> is different from ASCII CTRL, however, many programs may request
the operating system to map such  characters to the ASCII forms (with  the
<TOP> bit off).  In this case <META> is ignored.

Value ey


Richard M. Stallman (RMS@MIT-AI)  and David A.  Moon (Moon@MIT-MC) of  the
MIT-AI and MIT-MC  systems staff  wrote the source  documentation and  the
wonderful ITS terminal support that made this protocol possible.  It  must
be emphasized  that  this is  a  functional  protocol which  has  been  in
operation for some years now.

In addition, Moon, Stallman, and Michael McMahon (MMcM@SRI-KL) provided

many helpful comments and corrections to this document.

For further reference, the sources for the known currently existing SUPDUP

user programs are available online as:

[MIT-AI] SYSENG;SUPDUP >        for the ITS monitor,
[SU-AI]  SUPDUP.MID[NET,MRC]    for the SAIL monitor,
[SRI-KL] <MMcM>SD.FAI           for the TOPS-20 monitor.

The source for the known currently existing SUPDUP server program is:

[MIT-AI] SYSENG;TELSER >        for the ITS monitor.

These programs  are written  in  the MIDAS  and  FAIL dialects  of  PDP-10
assembly language.