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Old 01-24-2006, 08:59 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu
Posts: 74

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How can i make Vim work in 256 color mode ?

Serching some info about scripting i found this page:
which has more than 100, 256 color schemes for vim.

I searched the net on how to make my vim 256 and here's the guide i followed:


A way to add xterm with 256 colors in Debian:

* To know how many colors xterm has:
strings /usr/X11R6/bin/xterm | grep ^color[0-9] | sort -tr +1 -n

* Create a directory e.g. "build"
* cd build
* apt-get source xterm
* apt-get build-dep xterm
* untar sources
* for i in debian/patches/* ; do patch -p0 < "$i" ; done
* cd xc/programs/xterm
* chmod +x configure
* ./configure --with-x --enable-256-color --enable-wide-chars --disable-freetype
* make
* make install
* install debian package ncurses-term (which contains the file
* set TERM=xterm-256color
* Use perl script to check colors:
(google it if it isn't in your system)

-- Ivan F. Villanueva B. --


I had a mising library at compile point, but i was able to find it with apt-get. So i finished with out errors, but i still have 16 colors in my term.

Any ideas why ?
Old 01-26-2006, 03:10 AM   #2
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Registered: Jul 2002
Location: East Centra Illinois, USA
Distribution: Debian Squeeze
Posts: 5,844

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Ok, you installed the colors. Now, did you tell vim to use them? Like, editing a vimrc or something.
Old 01-26-2006, 04:21 AM   #3
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Registered: Apr 2005
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 16

Rep: Reputation: 0
Hi, i am using fedora core 3. So does vim come with 256 colors in FD3? what should i do to test different colors?

Old 01-26-2006, 06:17 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Distribution: Ubuntu 10.04 and CentOS 5.5
Posts: 3,873

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The on line help in vim will tell you how to do this.

Start vim.

Press the F1 key.

Scroll down to the "Getting Started" section.

Keep scrolling down until you get to the line with
|usr_06.txt| Using syntax highlighting

Move the cursor right one column so that it is in between the | characters.

Press the control key and the ] key at the same time.

Read about using color schemes.
Old 01-30-2006, 09:14 PM   #5
Registered: Oct 2004
Distribution: Debian, Ubuntu
Posts: 74

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
I apologise for the lack of information in my first post. As i said before I followed every step of the guide without much trouble.

I also changed the line in my vimrc from set t_Co=16 to set t_Co=256 and got no results. Then i realised i was not using xterm, i was using konsole.

I switched to xterm and tried the perl color test ( and i got all 256 colors on screen, i also tried the colortest.vim with vim and got all the colors.

But, when i type strings /usr/X11R6/bin/xterm | grep ^color[0-9] | sort -tr +1 -n , i still get 16 colors. Maybe it has something to do with set TERM=xterm-256color , im not sure where to use that line.

Besides i can't get the color schemes to show the colors correctly. They should recognice the color names in /usr/X11R6/lib/X11/rgb.txt but they don't. They only show the colors that have simple names like lightblue, red, darkgreen, etc.

So the question are,
why isn't vim recognicing the colors in the color schemes ?
how do i tell konsole to use 256 colors ?

Last edited by landuchi; 01-30-2006 at 09:45 PM.


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