Useful helpers for the shell

Terminal Tuning

Article from Issue 208/2018

Some users have been working at the command line for years and wouldn't change a thing about it, but others ride a wave of constant innovation. We explore some helpful tools for extending and expanding your shell experience.

The Bash shell is one of the central building blocks of any Linux system. Beginners are often a little lost, but they know they'll never become experts without some basic knowledge of the mystical command line. Advanced users love the convenience of navigating their Linux life using simple and practical text commands. For many users, the Bash shell is like everything else in Linux: Sure it's great, but it could always get better.

With a few tricks and some useful helper tools, you can add new capabilities and features to the venerable Bash shell. This article explores some favorite terminal tuning tricks.

Better History

Bash stores each command in the ~/.bash_history file. You can display the command history by typing history. Bash searches the history if you press Ctrl+R in the terminal and then enter a search term. If you repeat the Ctrl+R key combination, the shell jumps to the next hit; Ctrl+Shift+R takes it in the other direction.


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