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A .bashrc or .bash_profile file contains settings that are applied to non-interactive or interactive shells respectively. All the things described in this document are applicable to both, so it's reasonable to create only one and symlink the other one to it (or include it by saying something like . ~/.bashrc in your .bash_profile).

Simple things

Setting the PATH

It's often nice to have more binaries directly accessible in your PATH environment variable. To do this, I use the following settings:

os=`uname -s`
if [ "$os" = "SunOS" ]; then
  export PATH=/usr/ccs/bin:/usr/site/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/bin:/opt/csw/bin:/opt/csw/sbin:/usr/sfw/bin:/opt/sfw/bin:/usr/local/bin
  if [ "$os" = "Linux" ]; then
    export PATH=/usr/site/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/bin
if [ "$LOGNAME" = "root" ]; then
  export PATH=$PATH:/sbin

Changing the prompt

Having a colored prompt can be helpful to notice quickly where the prompt is in a long listing of output, and having a reminder who you are logged in as and where you are never hurts. To accomplish this, I use the following prompt:

export PS1="\[\033[34m\]\u\[\033[0m\]@\[\033[32m\]\h\[\033[0m\]:\[\033[31m\]\w\[\033[0m\]\\$ "

This gives your username in blue (i.e., if you sudo -s it'll be root instead of your username) followed by a black @ followed by the hostname of the machine you're on followed by a colon followed by the path to the current directory, followed by the sigil $ or # for user or root respectively. This format has the advantage of being usable by scp; if you have to copy a file from that directory onto another machine, you can copy/paste the whole string into your scp command.

Changing the terminal name

Setting the name of the terminal is reflected in the title bar in gnome-terminal, or with a similar mechanism for other terminals (or GNU screen). I use the following settings:

case $TERM in
    PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;${USER}@${HOSTNAME%%.*}:${PWD/#$HOME/~}"; echo -ne "\007"'
    PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033_${USER}@${HOSTNAME%%.*}:${PWD/#$HOME/~}"; echo -ne "\033\\"'

Changing your default pager

more is for losers. Use less instead.

export PAGER=less