[conspire] Obscure Way to Drastically Improve User Experience under Debian or K/X/Ubuntu (or MEPIS or Knoppix/Kanotix, etc.)

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Tue Dec 27 08:26:44 PST 2005

On Tue, 27 Dec 2005 06:07:04 -0800, mark weisler wrote:

> On Saturday 24 December 2005 22:43, Daniel Gimpelevich wrote:
>> Most RPM-based distros, as well as DEB-based Fink, provide an optional
>> package, sometimes installed by default, that magically makes tabbing in
>> the bash shell context-sensitive. For example, without this package, if
>> you type "cd foo" and press tab when you have a file named foo1 and a
>> folder named foo2, it will beep and not do anything. 
> snip...
>> Uncomment them and save changes. The next time you start a 
>> shell, tabs will be context-sensitive.
> This useful tip works for me. Thanks for passing it on. Might it be good to 
> give this tip wider circulation by, say, offering it to Linux Journal or a 
> similar purveyor of tips and tools?

This information is only obscure in the sense that it's so non-obvious
where to find it out. It's clearly spelled out in the file
/usr/share/doc/bash/README.bash_completion.gz, and it is not an uncommon
practice to read the /usr/share/doc files specific to Debian for packages
you install. The problem lies in the fact that the package "bash" is
always installed, so this file is not likely to be seen. It never even
occurred to myself to look for such a file there. What I did was search
packages.ubuntu.com for filenames containing "bash_completion" (the name
of the aforementioned RPM package), and this was one of the files that
popped up. As soon as I saw its name and location, I knew it would contain
the information I was seeking. I personally would not consider
LinuxJournal or the like to be a substitute for RTFMing, but if others do,
I wouldn't really care who submits this trivial thing. Also, for the
hardcore command-line fan, this "feature" is a trade-off, as Bill said,
which is why it's disabled by default. An additional annoyance it
introduces is that, with it enabled, usage of the "$_" variable fails at
seemingly random times. While I may consider that a relatively fair price
to pay, I'm sure there are others who would not.

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