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Limiting which commands are kept in the bash history file

·105 words·1 min·

By setting a certain bash environment variable, you can limit which commands are kept in the .bash_history file. The following options can be passed to the HISTCONTROL environmental variable:

ignorespace - omits commands beginning with a space

ignoredups - omits commands that match the previously run command

ignoreboth - combines ignorespace and ignoredups

erasedups - removes previous lines that match the line that was just run

To set it, simply run the following from the command line, or add it to the .bashrc or a single user’s .bash_profile:

export HISTCONTROL=ignorespace

If no value is set, then all commands will be saved regardless of their content.