Ghostty, emacsclient, and terminfo 04 Feb 2024

I've been lucky enough to get into the Ghostty beta, and am very happy with it o far. I ran into one real hiccup, and I know I'll forget how I fixed it when I set up my next laptop, so leaving a note for myself (and anyone else who hits it).

Ghostty uses a custom terminfo, xterm-ghostty, and does not install it to the system or user, but specifies a TERMINFO=/Applications/ environment variable in the process for Ghostty itself. This mostly works great, but not in cases where something started outside Ghostty cares about the terminal capabilities -- such as an emacs daemon :-(

When I started, I was using an emacs daemon controlled by homebrew services as I more or less forget everything about launchd shortly after doing anything with it. Homebrew is clever and replaces the launchd plist every time you start the service, so you cannot edit, boo. I get it, keeps people from breaking things, but boo. So, Step 1, stop using homebrew services to interface to launchd to start my emacas daemon.

Step 2: add my own launchd plist thingie at ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ghostty.emacs.plist. It is derived from the one homebrew uses, which is derived form the venerable mxcl version:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "">
<plist version="1.0">

I changed the label and added the EnvironmentVariables section setting TERMINFO. I stopped the brew service for emacs, started this one, and voila, emacsclient works again: launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/ghostty.emacs.plist :-)

This feels like a somewhat hacky fix, and I think the better way is probably to install the terminfo file for the local user, the way kitty does -- but I want to grok why Mitchell is not doing that before I muck with that!