This is actually a function of the terminal emulator you are using (xterm, gnome-terminal, konsole, screen). An alternate screen, or altscreen, gets launched when programs such as
vim are invoked. This altscreen has no history buffer and exits immediately when you quit the program, switching back to the original screen which restores the previous window content history and placement.
You can prevent
less from launch in an altscreen by passing the argument "-X".
less -X /path/to/some/file
You can also pass "-X" as an environment variable. So if you are using
bash, place this in
However, this disbles the termcap (terminal capability) initialization and deinitialization, so other views when you use
less may appear off.
Another option would be to use
screen and set the option
altscreen off in your
less will not clear the screen and should preserve color formatting. Presumably
tmux will have the same option.
This blog entry describes the problem and offers some different solutions specific to
gnome-terminal with varying success.