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I have the following bash prompt:


export PS1="$GREEN[\W]$YELLOW \$(__git_ps1 \"(%s) \")$RESET\\$ "

It looks like this:

enter image description here

Which is what I want. However, when I enter a long line, it does not break the line at all but rather overwrites the current one from the beginning of the line. When this happens and I hit backspace, everything in that line will disappear. How can I fix this?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You forgot to wrap the value of $RESET.


Bash must know how long the prompt is in order for word-wrap to work correctly, and everything not between \[ and \] is counted.

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It's not about prompt length but the escape sequence parameters list. You could add several of them e.g. to make the text bold, inverted and underlined etc. – Rajish Sep 20 '11 at 14:10
@Rajish: Okay, and why would that break line-wrapping? – grawity Sep 20 '11 at 14:11
Thanks, that was it. – Tamás Szelei Sep 20 '11 at 14:13
@grawity The \[ and \] escapes delimit non-printing characters sequence. Leaving them out probably breaks some terminal behaviour or internal bash parsing rules. – Rajish Sep 20 '11 at 14:50
@Rajish: Which is exactly what my answer says. Leaving them out breaks the internal bash prompt-length-computation "rules". – grawity Sep 20 '11 at 14:54

More portable using tput:

fgred="$(tput setaf 1)"
fggreen="$(tput setaf 2)"
fgyellow="$(tput setaf 3)"
fgblue="$(tput setaf 4)"
fgpurple="$(tput setaf 5)"
fgcyan="$(tput setaf 6)"
fgwhite="$(tput setaf 7)"

bgred="$(tput setab 1)"
bggreen="$(tput setab 2)"
bgyellow="$(tput setab 3)"
bgblue="$(tput setab 4)"
bgpurple="$(tput setab 5)"
bgcyan="$(tput setab 6)"
bgwhite="$(tput setab 7)"

bold="$(tput bold)"
underline="$(tput smul)"
reset="$(tput sgr0)"

export PS1="${fggreen}[\W]${fgyellow} \$(__git_ps1 \"(%s) \")${reset}\\$ "
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Wow. I've never heard of tput before. Thanks! – Tamás Szelei Sep 20 '11 at 14:49
tput is good, but eh, I've never seen a not VT220-compatible terminal [emulator] in active use these days. Also, noting lack of \[ \]. – grawity Sep 20 '11 at 14:55
@grawity: the other advantage of tput is that you know what to search in the manual if you don't understand what the script does. – Benoit Sep 20 '11 at 14:57

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