ksh(3) survival guide for bash(1) users

So you like bash, just like me. There are times though where you'd need to work on a machine where there is no bash, but ksh(3). Here is a list of commands and keys to help you:

Go back in history

Hit escape a few times, now hit "k" and "j" to move back and forward into the history.
Edit the command with the letters "h" and "l".

Complete commands

Type a part of your command, hit escape a few times, now hit "\" to complete the command.
You can't display what your options are, (in bash just tab a few times)

Get a decent prompt

Either run this command once, or add it to your ~/.profile:

export PS1="${USER}@$(hostname) ${PWD##*/} $ "

One major problem; the PWD variable does not change when changing directories!


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It does work. It's easy to

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I just hope I can implement

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If you like the emacs-style

If you like the emacs-style commands embedded by default in bash, you can enter :

$ set -o emacs

The default ksh style uses a vi-like command set, this is why you need to switch between edition-mode and command-mode using the ESC key.
As a quick example, you can type ESC-dd (means press ESC, then press twice the d key) to delete the whole line, ESC-A to go to the end of the line in edition-mode, ESC-I to edit the beginning of a line, ESC-/keyword to search for keyword in history.
Those are actually vi(1) commands used to manipulate text.

To display a list of commands/filenames that match when completing, type ESC-=
To get every possible match separated by a SPACE, type ESC-*

Depending on your ksh version, prompts can be customised using backslash-escaped special characters.
The example that follows works well under OpenBSD's ksh(1):

$ export PS1='\n[\u@\h \W] % '

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Curriculum Vitae By Fred Clausen +31 6 14 39 58 72
By Nelson Manning [email protected]