Primitivus is the TUI (Terminal User Interface) frontend of Libervia


Primitivus is a text based frontend. It is specially adapted for systems without graphical environments (e.g. servers), for low bandwidth remote shells (e.g. ssh) or for people who like straightforward interfaces without distracting images or animations.

For the moment, Primitivus implements one 2 one chat, group chat (also called MUC for Multi-Users Chat), and some related features (end 2 end encryption, bookmarks, gateways interaction, file sending, etc.).


Primitivus is modal (vi-like), one can switch from one mode to another in the same way as in vi/vim:

  • From any mode, press [Esc] to switch to normal mode.
  • From normal mode, press : to switch to command mode.
  • From normal mode, press i to switch to insert mode – the one you use to write messages to your contacts.

Primitivus can be handled either with the mouse, in a very intuitive way, or with the keyboard. Below, the keyboard shortcuts are explained.

Keyboard handling

  • + means that 2 keys must be pressed at the same time. Example: CTRL + N means that
    you must press Control key and N at the same time
  • , means that a key must be pressed after the previous combination. Example: CTRL + F, M means that you must press control key and F at the same time, release them, then press M
  • keys with SHIFT also work without SHIFT if [CapsLock] is set.

Main keys

[Tab] and/or CTRL + up/down arrows
change focus
quit Primitivus
CTRL + F, 1 or CTRL + F, M
focus on the menu
CTRL + F, 2 or CTRL + F, B
focus on the roster or the chat window
CTRL + F, 3 or CTRL + F, E
focus on the edition line
display/hide the menu
show the next notification
hide/redisplay a pop-up window temporarily
enter debug mode (development versions only)
hide/display the roster
refresh the screen

Chat rooms

To use those keyboard shortcuts, your cursor must be in a chat room.

join a chat room
hide/display the list of participants
hide/display timestamps
use/don’t use short nicks
hide/display frame decorations
change the room’s topic appearance by switching between:
  • one single line (the topic is cut if it’s too long)
  • the full topic
  • topic hidden
go to the end (bottom) of your history (note that this is UPPERCASE G)

Edition line

CTRL + A or [Home]
move the cursor at the beginning of the line
CTRL + E or [End]
move the cursor at the end of the line
erase the line, starting at the cursor’s position
erase the last word
S + [Tab]
invoke completion (dependent on the context)
up/down arrows
browse sent messages history


hide/display offline contacts
hide/display contacts’ status messages

Card game

select a card


The following commands must be typed in command mode (type [Esc] to switch to normal mode, then the : at the beginning of the command will switch to command mode).

quit Primitivus
display log messages (see also the logging configuration)
:history <size>
set the number of lines of history to display in the chat window (:history 0 to clear the window)
:search <filter>
do a full text search in this conversation/room. The room will be cleared an only messages corresponding to <filter> will be show. Use :history <size> to restore normal history