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4.13. What Good Is a Blank Shell Prompt?

NOTE: This tip is also great if you use a mouse to copy and paste command lines in your window.

Some terminals I've used (like old Hewlett-Packard and Tektronix terminals) had local editing. You could move your cursor up the screen to a previous command line, maybe make some edits to it, then press a SEND LINE key to resend that line to the host. This didn't have anything to do with sophisticated command-line editing (Section 30.14) that modern Unix shells have, though. Maybe your terminal can do that, too. Depending on how your emacs editor is configured, shell-mode may work that way, as well.

The problem was that unless I erased the shell prompt (%) on my screen, it would be sent back to the shell and give the error "%: Command not found." So I set my shell prompt to this:

set prompt='     '

That's right: four spaces. Most Unix commands start their output at column 1, so my command lines were easy to find because they were indented. The shell didn't care if I sent four spaces before the command line. So everything was fine until I got my new terminal without a SEND LINE key . . .

If you want some information in your prompt, too, make a multiline prompt (Section 4.7) with four spaces in the last line.

--JP and SJC

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