DayPath Journal

Complete control and domination over my Ubuntu bash shell history

I’m not going to explain why because billions of people on this planet do not care. I’ll just write it like this: it bothers me when my bash shell history gets too “long”—tapping that up arrow key for tens of seconds grinds my gears. What is worse is the ever-so-slight dip in morale when I enter history -c only to find that my history was not cleared—most of the time I seme-consciously realized this was happening to me I was mired in an emergency too desperate to investigate this issue.

These three commands solve the issue:

history -c && history -w && exit

What is better is to save the ‘messy’ history before clearing the buffer:

history -w ~/Desktop/history_bak.txt

What I am fond of doing is sorting history_bak.txt and removing duplicates—like this:

sort history_bak.txt | uniq > history_bak_tmp.txt

Then I move history_bak_tmp.txt over history_bak.txt. I can then cherry-pick the best lines and paste them into the terminal as needed.

I have this “weird” expectation that my history file will settle down into about a dozen commands used routinely. Any spike in command usage means something abnormal has happened—prompting the need to clear the bash history again.

Related Links