HISTORY shell variable management in Unix/Linux

Published on June 23, 2010

To recall a previous command, we use the history command. There are many options you can set depending on how you want to manage your history.

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Set the number of lines to store in history

Use the HISTSIZE variable. Edit ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile and add this:

HISTSIZE=1000
HISTFILESIZE=1000

Log out of the terminal session and login. You will see the changes.

Change the history filename to arulhistory

Use the HISTSIZE variable. Edit ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile and add this:

HISTFILE=~/.arulhistory

Log out of the terminal session and login. You will see the changes.

Prevent repeated commands from piling up in history

Sometimes you enter several repeated commands like ls -al and clear. To prevent the duplicate commands from getting stored in history, use the HISTCONTROL variable. Edit ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile and add this:

export HISTCONTROL=ignoredups

Now type history and you won't find previous commands duplicated.

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Published on June 23, 2010