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How can I customize bash to add a system “bell” whenever a readline (prompt user for input) is requested?

Running (upgraded) bash 4.1.0 on Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Add \[\a\] to PS1 (normal prompt) and PS2 (continuing prompt), e.g.

PS1="\u@\h\[\a\] "

will make the normal prompt


including a bell.

\a is the BELL character, \[ and \] tell the shell it's not printed (for width calculation).

Add the PS1=... line to ~/.bash_profile once you're happy with it.

This doesn't work for command-line based applications though. I don't think it's possible, since you can enter quite often input even while output is being printed; this accumulates. And a prompt just means nothing's currently writing to the terminal.

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Yeah, I don’t want a bell on my PS1 prompt. Basically, I’d like a bell if something is waiting for readline input. – Zearin Apr 30 '11 at 13:00
But close enough, I suppose. Maybe if I add this to one of the other PS# variables. I’ll have to check. (Anyway, thanks! ☺) – Zearin Sep 6 '11 at 12:41
@Zearin I also found out since, that there is PS3 used for actual prompts in bash scripts. – Daniel Beck Sep 6 '11 at 12:47

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