Vim 7.1 on Solaris with color syntax and functional backspace key

Compiling VIM
Fortunately vim is a breeze to compile on Solaris as doesn’t really depend on much. I got the source code from and did .configure && make and finally make install.

Color syntax highlighting
The real reason I wanted to install this new version of vim was to get color highlighting and I was a little disappointed when it turned out that it didn’t do color highlighting. The reason for this was the $TERM variable – in the colsole this was set to xterm which vim inherited, so to change this I altered .vimrc to include this line

set term=linux
set background=dark
syntax on

The backspace problem
Even more annoying was the backspace key. When I pressed backspace it wouldn’t delete one character back but instead inserted ^?. Again the solution was easy (after I figured it out). I altered .vimrc to include this line

set bs=2

As this problem also appeared in the normal console the solution was to alter .bashrc to contain the lines below. The command changes the terminal line settings:

stty intr
stty erase
stty echoe

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  1. Hey Thomas,

    Been working on Solaris for a few weeks now and was annoyed by the backspace issue in vim as well. Thanks for sharing the solution.

    Have fun 🙂


  2. Thanks Thomas,

    It is working now. But if i press ‘end’ or ‘home’, there is also a problems.
    What lines should I add ?

  3. Hi Mazen – I do no longer have access to Sun machines, so I can’t really test it for you. It’s been seven years since I wrote this post I just realized 🙂

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