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Celebrate the holidays at your Bash prompt

Your Linux terminal probably supports Unicode, so why not take advantage of that and add a seasonal touch to your prompt?
Winter Bash Prompt

Are you on call today, or hiding in the back room to avoid being your family sysadmin over the holidays? Why not celebrate the holidays by adding some winter cheer to your Bash prompt?

Your Bash prompt currently might be a simple dollar sign ($), or more likely, it's something a little longer. If you're not sure what makes up your Bash prompt right now, you can find it in an environment variable called $PS1. To see it, type:

echo $PS1

For me, this returns:

[\u@\h \W]\$

The \u\h, and \W are special characters for username, hostname, and working directory. There are others you can use as well; for help building out your Bash prompt, you can use EzPrompt, an online generator of PS1 configurations that includes lots of options including date and time, Git status, and more.

You may have other variables that make up your Bash prompt set as well; $PS2 for me contains the closing brace of my command prompt. See this article for more information.

To change your prompt, simply set the environment variable in your terminal like this:

$ PS1='\u is cold: '
jehb is cold:

To set it permanently, add the same code to your /etc/bashrc using your favorite text editor.

So what does this have to do with winterization? Well, chances are on a modern machine, your terminal support Unicode, so you're not limited to the standard ASCII character set. You can use any emoji that's a part of the Unicode specification, including a snowflake ❄, a snowman ☃, or a pair of skis 🎿. You've got plenty of wintery options to choose from.

🎄 Christmas Tree
🧥 Coat
🦌 Deer
🧤 Gloves
🤶 Mrs. Claus
🎅 Santa Claus
🧣 Scarf
🎿 Skis
🏂 Snowboarder
❄ Snowflake
☃ Snowman
⛄ Snowman Without Snow
🎁 Wrapped Gift

Pick your favorite, and enjoy some winter cheer. Fun fact: modern filesystems also support Unicode characters in their filenames, meaning you can technically name your next program "❄❄❄❄❄.py". That said, please don't. 

This article was originally published on in 2018.

Topics:   Sysadmin culture  
Author’s photo

Jason Baker

Red Hat Certified Engineer. Linux desktop enthusiast. Map/geospatial nerd. Raspberry Pi tinkerer. Data analysis and visualization geek. Occasional Pythonista. More about me

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