How to custom display prompt in KornShell to show hostname and current directory?

0 votes
asked Jul 23, 2009 by daveslab

I am using KornShell (ksh) on Solaris and currently my PS1 env var is:

PS1="${HOSTNAME}:\${PWD} \$ "

And the prompt displays: hostname:/full/path/to/current/directory $

However, I would like it to display: hostname:directory $

In other words, how can I display just the hostname and the name of the current directory, i.e. tmp or ~ or public_html etc etc?

7 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2009 by freddy

Try this:


More information on: How to: Change / Setup bash custom prompt, I know you said ksh, but I am pretty sure it will work.

0 votes
answered Jul 23, 2009 by rudi-bierach

From reading the ksh man page you want

PS1="${HOSTNAME}:\${PWD##*/} \$ "

Tested on default ksh on SunOS 5.8

0 votes
answered Jul 8, 2011 by david-w

Okay, a little old and a little late, but this is what I use in Kornshell:

PS1='$(print -n "`logname`@`hostname`:";if [[ "${PWD#$HOME}" != "$PWD" ]] then; print -n "~${PWD#$HOME}"; else; print -n "$PWD";fi;print "\n$ ")'

This makes a prompt that's equivalent to PS1="\u@\h:\w\n$ " in BASH.

For example:

$ cd bin
$ cd /usr/local/bin

I like a two line prompt because I sometimes have very long directory names, and they can take up a lot of the command line. If you want a one line prompt, just leave off the "\n" on the last print statement:

PS1='$(print -n "`logname`@`hostname`:";if [[ "${PWD#$HOME}" != "$PWD" ]] then; print -n "~${PWD#$HOME}"; else; print -n "$PWD";fi;print "$ ")'

That's equivalent to PS1="\u@\h:\w$ " in BASH:

qazwart@mybook:~$ cd bin
qazwart@mybook:~/bin$ cd /usr/local/bin

It's not quite as easy as setting up a BASH prompt, but you get the idea. Simply write a script for PS1 and Kornshell will execute it.

For Solaris and other Older Versions of Kornshell

I found that the above does not work on Solaris. Instead, you'll have to do it the real hackish way...

  • In your .profile, make sure that ENV="$HOME/.kshrc"; export ENV is set. This is probably setup correctly for you.

  • In your .kshrc file, you'll be doing two things

    1. You'll be defining a function called _cd. This function will change to the directory specified, and then set your PS1 variable based upon your pwd.
    2. You'll be setting up an alias cd to run the _cd function.

This is the relevant part of the .kshrc file:

function _cd {
   logname=$(logname)   #Or however you can set the login name
   machine=$(hostname)  #Or however you set your host name
   $directory = $1
   $pattern = $2        #For "cd foo bar"

   # First cd to the directory
   # We can use "\cd" to evoke the non-alias original version of the cd command
   if [ "$pattern" ]
       \cd "$directory" "$pattern"
   elif [ "$directory" ]
       \cd "$directory"

   # Now that we're in the directory, let's set our prompt

   shortname=${directory#$HOME}  #Possible Subdir of $HOME

   if [ "$shortName" = "" ]  #This is the HOME directory
        prompt="~$logname"   # Or maybe just "~". Your choice
   elif [ "$shortName" = "$directory" ] #Not a subdir of $HOME
   PS1="$logname@$hostname:$prompt$ "  #You put it together the way you like

alias cd="_cd"

This will set your prompt as the equivelent BASH PS1="\u@\h:\w$ ". It isn't pretty, but it works.

0 votes
answered Jul 11, 2011 by brad

ENV=~/.kshrc, and then in your .kshrc:

function _cd {
  \cd "$@"
    print -n "$LOGNAME@$HOSTNAME:"
    if [[ "${PWD#$HOME}" != "$PWD" ]]; then
      print -n "~${PWD#$HOME}"
      print -n "$PWD"
    print "$ "

alias cd=_cd

cd "$PWD"


0 votes
answered Jul 9, 2012 by robin-hoo
PS1='$(print -n "[${USER}@${HOST%%.*} ";[[ "$HOME" == "$PWD" ]] && print -n "~" ||([[ "${PWD##*/}" == "" ]] && print -n "/" || print -n "${PWD##*/}");print "]$")'
0 votes
answered Jul 25, 2016 by zzeon


if you work between two shells for most of your effort [ksh and bourne sh] and desire a directory tracking display on your command line then PWD can be substituted easily in ksh and if you use /usr/xpg4/bin/sh for your sh SHELL, it will work there as well

0 votes
answered Sep 15, 2017 by user8585881
PS1=`id -un`@`hostname -s`:'$PWD'$
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