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What is the debian_chroot variable in my bashrc file? and what is it doing here?

PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\$ '

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not much about it in the way of google, but you might like to look at ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=55243 – Stefan Oct 15 '10 at 21:39
It's ugly and unfriendly code that you will rarely ever use in your otherwise simple and elegant PS1 prompt. It seems that there would be a better way to do this (perhaps an if $debian_chroot; then ... else block). – Stefan Lasiewski Oct 16 '10 at 3:09
The PS1 I posted is default (K)Ubuntu prompt – Falmarri Oct 16 '10 at 8:42
I think you should accept Gilles' answer... – jamadagni Oct 9 '15 at 2:36

Chroot is a unix feature that lets you restrict a process to a subtree of the filesystem. One traditional use is FTP servers that chroot to a subset of the filesystem containing only a few utilities and configuration files, plus the files to serve; that way, even if an intruder manages to exploit a bug in the server, they won't be able to access files outside the chroot. Another common use is when you're installing or repairing a unix system and you boot from a different system (such as a live CD): once a basic system is available, you can chroot into it and do more work.

The prompt setting includes the content of $debian_chroot in the prompt, inside parentheses, unless it is empty. This variable is initialized in /etc/bash.bashrc to the contents of the file /etc/debian_chroot. Thus, if you follow the convention to include a name for your chroots at the location /path/to/chroot/etc/debian_chroot, your prompt will contain an indication of which chroot you're in. A program that follows this convention is schroot, a tool for building and using chroots conveniently (I think the original intent was to facilitate having a stable Debian in a chroot inside an unstable or testing Debian, but the program has evolved quite a bit beyond that).

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