Changing the prompt for csh on FreeBSD 8.1

The prompt by default for csh on FreeBSD is simply a sing percent symbol.

%

There is not space before or after this.  I don’t like it and it drives me crazy. I like a prompt to tell me three things:

  1. Who is logged in.
  2. The machine name.
  3. The current path.

This change is quite simple.  It can be made temporarily, permanently for all users, or permanently for a single user.

Temporary

Sometimes you don’t want to make a permanent change to the prompt.  Especially if you are on someone else’s system temporarily and using one of their shells.  In such a case, setting the prompt temporarily is desired.

To see the prompt temporarily, simply run this command:

set prompt = “[%n@%m %c]$ “

Your prompt should now look as follows:

[SomeUser@SomeComputer ~]$

This is only temporary. As soon as you close the shell, the settings is gone and any new shells will continue to have the old setting.

All Users

To make a change for all users, the file that needs to be edited is /etc/csh.cshrc.

By default the file is empty except for some comments.  Line that are comments begin with the # character.

Add these lines to empty file:

if ($?prompt) then
        # An interactive shell -- set some stuff up
        set prompt = "[%n@%m %c]$ "
endif

After making this change, your prompt should look as follows:

[SomeUser@SomeComputer ~]$

If the file is not empty then you probably have to search yourself if the prompt is being set and replace it with the above.

Be careful that the prompt is not set for a single user because if it is, the user’s setting overrides the global settings.

Single User

The prompt can be set on a user by user basis.  The user’s settings will override the global setting.

To make a change for a single user, the file that needs to be edited is ~/csh.cshrc.

By default the file looks as follows:

# .cshrc - csh resource script, read at beginning of execution by each shell
#
# see also csh(1), environ(7).
#

alias h         history 25
alias j         jobs -l
alias la        ls -a
alias lf        ls -FA
alias ll        ls -lA

# A righteous umask
umask 22

set path = (/sbin /bin /usr/sbin /usr/bin /usr/games /usr/local/sbin /usr/local/bin $HOME/bin)

setenv  EDITOR  vi
setenv  PAGER   more
setenv  BLOCKSIZE       K

if ($?prompt) then
        # An interactive shell -- set some stuff up
        set filec
        set history = 100
        set savehist = 100
        set mail = (/var/mail/$USER)
        if ( $?tcsh ) then
                bindkey "^W" backward-delete-word
                bindkey -k up history-search-backward
                bindkey -k down history-search-forward
        endif
endif

After modification, my /etc/csh.cshrc looks like this:

# $FreeBSD$
#
# .cshrc - csh resource script, read at beginning of execution by each shell
#
# see also csh(1), environ(7).
#

alias h         history 25
alias j         jobs -l
alias la        ls -a
alias lf        ls -FA
alias ll        ls -lA

# A righteous umask
umask 22

set path = (/sbin /bin /usr/sbin /usr/bin /usr/games \
           /usr/local/sbin /usr/local/bin $HOME/bin \
           /usr/local/kde4/bin /usr/local/kde4/sbin \
           /usr/X11R6/kde4/bin /usr/X11R6/kde4/sbin \
           /usr/X11R6/kde4/lib/kde4/libexec)

setenv  EDITOR  vi
setenv  PAGER   more
setenv  BLOCKSIZE       K

if ($?prompt) then
        # An interactive shell -- set some stuff up
        set prompt = "[%n@%m %c]$ "
        set filec
        set history = 100
        set savehist = 100
        set mail = (/var/mail/$USER)
        if ( $?tcsh ) then
                bindkey "^W" backward-delete-word
                bindkey -k up history-search-backward
                bindkey -k down history-search-forward
        endif
endif

Your prompt should now look as follows:

[SomeUser@SomeComputer ~]$

Whatever you set the prompt to as a single user will override the global setting.

3 Comments

  1. Arthur says:

    Good reference material, thanks :)

  2. Dave Paxton says:

    Rhyous Hello
    On the above page have the references in the ALL Users section and the Single User section got mixed up?

    Shouldn't All Users refer to /etc/csh.cshrc and Single User to ~.cshrc or is it me just getting confused?

    Cheers
    Dave

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