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4.10.  libcaca – Color ASCII Art library

The libcaca library is a graphics library that outputs text instead of pixels, so that it can work on older video cards or text terminals. It is not unlike the famous AAlib library. libcaca needs a terminal to work, thus it should work on all Unix systems (including Mac OS X) using either the slang library or the ncurses library, on DOS using the conio.h library, and on Windows systems using either slang or ncurses (through Cygwin emulation) or conio.h. If ./configure detects libcaca, the caca libvo driver will be built.

The differences with AAlib are the following:

But libcaca also has the following limitations:

You can use some keys in the caca window to change rendering options:

d Toggle libcaca dithering methods.
a Toggle libcaca antialiasing.
b Toggle libcaca background.

libcaca will also look for certain environment variables:


Set recommended caca driver. e.g. ncurses, slang, x11.


Specifies the number of rows and columns. e.g. 128x50.

CACA_FONT (X11 only)

Specifies the font to use. e.g. fixed, nexus.

Use the -framedrop option if your computer is not fast enough to render all frames.