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A Ruby binding for curses, ncurses, and PDCurses. curses is an extension library for text UI applications.

Formerly part of the Ruby standard library, curses was removed and placed in this gem with the release of Ruby 2.1.0. (see ruby/ruby@9c5b2fd)


$ gem install curses

Requires ncurses or ncursesw (with wide character support). On Debian based distributions, you can install it with apt:

$ apt install libncurses5-dev


$ apt install libncursesw5-dev


After checking out the repo, run bundle install to install dependencies.

To compile the extension library, run bundle exec rake compile.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in curses.gemspec, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to

Cross compilation for Windows on Debian GNU/Linux based platforms

  1. Install development environment fo 32- and 64-bit Windows.

    $ sudo apt-get install mingw-w64
  2. Install rake-compiler.

    $ gem install rake-compiler
  3. Compile multiple versions of Ruby.

    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=i686-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.2.6
    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=i686-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.3.3
    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=i686-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.4.0
    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=x86_64-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.2.6
    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=x86_64-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.3.3
    $ rake-compiler cross-ruby HOST=x86_64-w64-mingw32 VERSION=2.4.0
  4. Compile PDCurses.

    $ rake build:pdcurses
  5. Compile curses.gem.

    $ rake RUBY_CC_VERSION=2.3.3:2.4.0 cross clean compile native gem

Binary gems are generated in pkg/.


curses is released under the Ruby and 2-clause BSD licenses. See COPYING for details.

Binary gems for mingw32 include a forked version of PDCurses, which is in the public domain:

The version for Win32 console mode in the win32 subdirectory is used.