The xterm alternate screen behavior is quite annoying. That is, programs like man or vi or less use the alternate screen, and when they exit the original screen is restored. (See http://fixlog.blogspot.com/2006/09/stop-gnome-terminal-screen-clear.html for an animated example.)
I've always switched to using TERM=xterm1, which is the same as xterm, but with the alternate screen clearing disabled.
Today I installed Fedora 9, and I found that xterm1 was not present in /usr/share/terminfo/x. Searching for information about xterm1 is pretty fruitless. In the end, I pulled down the ncurses source rpm and rebuilt it to track down xterm1. The answer was that xterm1 got moved into a secondary package named ncurses-term, which was not installed by default. So a "sudo yum install ncurses-term" did the trick.