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Manage bash history from multiple terminal windows in a sane and rational way.

For a quick start, scroll down for installation and usage.


"Those who forget the past are doomed to retype it."
- George Santayana (paraphrased)

The history recall project helps organize your bash history. If you have ever been in the position where you are trying to find the one terminal window that you used to enter an obscure command so that you can use your bash history to recall it, then you may be looking for a better way to manage your history.

Aside: Note that if you would like to share a single bash history across all of your terminal windows, there is a simple solution:

$ export PROMPT_COMMAND="history -a"
$ shopt -s histappend

For more information on this, see The Definitive Guide to Bash Command Line History. If, however, you are accustomed to doing different tasks in different terminals, and in general like the fact that your history is segregated by terminal window, then a more complicated solution may meet your needs better. History Recall is just such a solution.


'hgrep': Search history in all terminal windows

$ hgrep <regex>

The hgrep command works just like history | grep <regex>, save for the fact that the later searches only the history of the current terminal window, whereas hgrep searches history in all windows.

$ hgrep apt-get
bash_nagai_dev_pts_9:sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
bash_nagai_dev_pts_5:sudo apt-get install rdesktop
bash_nagai_dev_pts_5:sudo apt-get install traceroute
bash_nagai_dev_pts_0:sudo apt-get remove gnome-session-fallback
bash_nagai_dev_pts_0:sudo apt-get install php-doc

By default, the history files are named after the tty attached to the terminal window they are running in. (You can see the tty of the current window using the 'tty' command.) The history file that is associated with the current window will be shown last, at the bottom of all of the output.

'termial': Bring the given terminal number frontmost

$ terminal <number>

The terminal command will switch to the desktop containing the terminal window attached to the specified tty and activate it.

$ terminal 9

This command will switch to the window containing the terminal where 'apt-get install chromium-browser' was executed in the last example.

'note', 'notes' and 'recall': Write a note into history

$ note <command> // <comment>
$ notes
$ recall <comment>

The 'note' command will execute the given command and will write it, allong with the provided command and all of its command output into the command history. The 'notes' command will list all of the notes taken, but only from those in the current terminal. The 'recall' command will print out the information saved information later. Note that 'recall' will find notes that were entered in any terminal.

$ note ls // initial contents
$ notes
[Thu Nov  8 15:29:52 PST 2012]$ ls // initial contents
$ recall "initial contents"
# Thu Nov  8 15:29:52 PST 2012
$ ls // initial contents

'task' and 'finished': Create a named task for history

$ task <label>
$ finished

The 'task' and 'finished' commands

$ task Install whizzy-fu pro
begin task: Install whizzy-fu pro
$ sudu apt-get install whizzyfu libwhizzyfu-dev
$ ... lots of other stuff
$ finished
finished task: Install whizzy-fu pro

... a few days later, in a different terminal:

$ recall whizzy
# Fri Oct 12 11:06:43 PDT 2012
recalled task: Install whizzy-fu pro
$ ^Rapt-get
(reverse-i-search)`sudo apt-get': sudo apt-get install whizzyfu libwhizzyfu-dev


The History Recall commands are all implemented as bash functions defined in a single historyrc file. To install, all that you need to do is source this file. If you are using the utiliscripts project, history-recall is installed automatically via the move-in script. To use history-recall without running move-in, you can follow the installation instructions below.

First, clone the project from github:

cd ~/local
git clone

Then source the file when your bash shell starts up.

In ~/.bashrc:

source ~/local/history-recall/historyrc

Once you have installed History Recall, you must either re-source your .bashrc file or close and re-open your terminal windows. Once you do this, your bash history will be saved in a separate file for each terminal window, and your history will persist across reboots.



Manage and search your bash history across multiple terminal windows






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