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Debian apparently has a terminal type
all occurrences of 0x1B in key sequences (such as function keys) are
replaced by 0x9B.
This gets rid of the irritating delay on pressing Esc while the server works out of it's part of a multi-byte sequence or not.
It's been suggested that PuTTY should have an option to work like this.
SGT adds: This sounds like a nice simple feature on the face of it, but unfortunately UTF-8 complicates it a lot. What should happen when the terminal is in UTF-8 mode (or, hypothetically and if we ever get round to it, some other multi-byte character encoding)? Should we send a bare 9B anyway, causing an illegal UTF-8 sequence but keeping compatibility with any software which is scanning the incoming byte stream for a precise sequence of bytes? Or should we send C2 9B, the UTF-8 encoding of U+009B? Or should we simply outlaw this mode completely in UTF-8 mode?
Audit trail for this wish.