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The Linux Command Line by William E. Shotts Jr.

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Chapter 13. Customizing the Prompt

In this chapter we will look at a seemingly trivial detail: our shell prompt. This examination will reveal some of the inner workings of the shell and the terminal emulator program itself.

Like so many things in Linux, the shell prompt is highly configurable, and while we have pretty much taken it for granted, the prompt is a really useful device once we learn how to control it.

Anatomy of a Prompt

Our default prompt looks something like this:

[me@linuxbox ˜]$

Notice that it contains our username, our hostname, and our current working directory, but how did it get that way? Very simply, it turns out. The prompt is defined by an environment variable named PS1 (short for prompt string 1). We can view the contents of ...

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