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When I am on a non-root user I cannot use / to list my previous commands, and if I am typing I can't use / to say, add in a directory or to correct the spelling.

Worse, I can't use Tab. I could write /var/www/mylongsitena and pressing Tab will not autocomplete it.

It's extremely annoying. How can I change this? IIRC Debian etch and lenny didn't do this. How can I unto this change?

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Does this happen with a new non-root test user? – mattdm Mar 8 '11 at 22:28
Is this a fresh installation or an upgrade? Can you try creating a new user, and see if these things work. – Tshepang Mar 8 '11 at 22:31
@mattdm: I am still fairly noob. i did su irc and tested it. So i suppose it happens on ALL non root users? @Tshepang: fresh install. and this happens to users i created last week and a few weeks ago – acidzombie24 Mar 8 '11 at 22:37
up vote 9 down vote accepted

You appear to have /bin/sh as the login shell of your non-root user, and /bin/sh point to dash. Dash is a shell designed to execute shell scripts that stick to standard constructs with low resource consumption. The alternative is bash, which has more programming features and interactive features such as command line history and completion, at the cost of using more memory and being slightly slower.

Change your login shell to a good interactive shell. On the command line, run

chsh -s /bin/zsh

(You can use /bin/bash if you prefer.) Configure your user management program to use that different shell as the default login shell for new users (by default, the usual command-line program adduser uses /bin/bash).

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That solved it. Thanks – acidzombie24 Mar 8 '11 at 23:47

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