First I want to say I am using Ubuntu Mate 16.04.

I'm trying to get the solarized colorscheme to work in vim but am running into problems. It works fine in gvim, but I seem to only be getting 8 color support in vim.

It is also not specific to the solarized colorscheme, many other colorschemes do not appear correctly.

I have installed the ncurses-term package, and set TERM=xterm-256color in a variety of different ways (manually, in .bashrc, or as a command when mate-terminal is run).

When I run tput colors I get 256

I also have, or have tried the following in different combinations in my .vimrc

 syntax on
 set t_Co=256
 let g:solarized_termcolors=256
 set background=dark

BUT when I run $TERM it gives me xterm-256color: command not found. I think this is where the issue is.

I also know that /lib/terminfo/x/xterm-256color exists, but /usr/share/terminfo/x/xterm-256color does not exist. Therefore I have tried copying xterm-256color into /usr/share/terminfo/x/ but that didn't help either.

  • 1
    Not the main issue here, but you get command not found error, because bash replaces $TERM with xterm-256color and then tries to execute is as a command. Try echo $TERM and you should get no errors. – Jacajack Jan 12 '17 at 16:13
  • I'm not a Vim specialist, but are you sure that the color scheme is actually getting enabled? What about colorscheme solarized? – Jacajack Jan 12 '17 at 16:22
  • Yes it is being enabled, I can change colorschemes, and change the filenames of the colorscheme to make sure I am actually enabling the correct one. – liamhawkins Jan 12 '17 at 16:23

Turns out I didn't take a close enough look at the 256-color palette, the colors I was looking for are not in the palette, and thus that is the reason I was having a problem.


Just go to the Preferences in the menu of the terminal and change the Profile colour scheme to reflect you want solarized.

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