/projects/ hist - bash history forever!

When I first started spending a lot of time in a shell, I remember often getting a sinking feeling when a command I needed had just fallen off the history stack. Sure, you can adjust the number of entries stored in your bash history, but that didn't seem good enough.

So I wrote a utility called hist. It allows me to do some things that are not possible with the standard builtin as well as some things that are not otherwise easy or straightforward:

  • retain my history forever and aggregate it across computers
  • immediately see commands that were executed in other terminal sessions.
  • retain with each history entry information including: shell PID, exit code, and pwd at the time of execution.
  • query my entire history efficiently using hist -ag $REGEXP, where $REGEXP can include the datetime, shell id, directory of execution or any part of the command

It's simple to add hist to your bash environment:

  • clone the hist repo:

    git clone https://github.com/mkomo/hist.git
  • put hist in an executable path:

    ln -s hist/hist ~/bin/hist
  • register hist in your bash prompt command:

    function mkomoprompt {
        eval "`hist -r`"
    export PROMPT_COMMAND=mkomoprompt

now all of your history will be stored forever in ~/.bash_eternal_history and you can query it at any time with commands like:

# every time you've executed the apt-get command on this machine
hist -ag apt-get


# every time command you've executed in this directory during the current shell session
hist -cg `pwd`

and see results like this:

#pid, date, time, exit status, directory, command
16420   2014-11-23 13:24:04 0   /home/mkomorowski   sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins-extra 
16420   2014-11-23 13:24:53 130 /home/mkomorowski   sudo apt-get install compiz-plugins-extra 
11962   2014-11-26 13:00:54 100 /home/mkomorowski   sudo apt-get install cvt
11962   2014-12-05 03:36:08 0   /home/mkomorowski   sudo apt-get install pepperflashplugin-nonfree
25065   2014-12-07 10:21:15 0   /home/mkomorowski/workspaces    sudo apt-get install vlc