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Linux 2003
Conference and Tutorials
Thurs 31st July - Sun 3rd August 2003
Edinburgh, Scotland

Simon Myers - GBdirect

Power Shell Usage: Bash Tips & Tricks


This talk introduces tips and tricks which together make Bash considerably more user-friendly and greatly improve the power and efficiency of working at the command line.

Using bash often seems to require verbose input and involves much repetition. But it has many features that help reduce these irritations, though several of these require configuration. The bash(1) man page covers all this, but at 58 printed A4 pages it's far from obvious where to start, with the result that many people put up with the default configuration and make do with a small number of features. This is a shame, given how much bash offers and how much time many people spend interacting with it.

Useful features include:

  • ensuring command history is saved from all open windows;
  • getting 'Bash' to correct small typos automatically;
  • configuring Tab completion so it does what you want;
  • easily changing to frequently used directories;
  • using magic-space to repeat previous command arguments without retyping; and
  • providing default options to common commands.
  • In this presentation, each individual feature is demonstrated in a way that highlights its utility, and then its use and set-up are explained. Somebody who has attended the presentation (and has the notes) will be able to go away and start taking advantage of it, without having to wade through bash(1). Whatever you use Linux for, you can benefit from mastering the shell and having it work for you rather than against you.

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