Somewhere along the way I've fallen into the habit of hitting tab twice after using a wildcard in commands like mv or rm, which by default causes bash to show the list of files that would match the wildcard expansion. For example:

  {~/bin}-> ls p*<TAB>
  pnuke         pscp          pssh          
  prsync        pslurp        pssh-askpass  

However, when using the bash_completion package in Debian Jessie, this behavior has changed, and the default behavior when completing a filename is to replace any wildcards with the first (and only the first) file that matches the expansion. With bash_completion installed, if I use the same example as above, my command line changes to look like this after hitting tab:

  {~/bin}-> ls pnuke

Of all the possible actions bash could have taken in this situation, this seems like the least useful. Is there a way to get back the default readline file completion behavior, while still getting all the other goodies that bash_completion provides when completing something that is not a file name? Or if not the default behavior, can I at least make it do something helpful? (Even doing nothing at all would be more helpful behavior than this.)

2 Answers 2


Did you know you can get the desired behavior by typing ls p + Tab instead of ls p* + Tab?

Alternatively you can type ls p* + Alt - ! or ls p* + Ctrl - x + !.

Note that Alt - ! and Ctrl - x + ! are bound to complete-command and possible-command-completions, respectively. You can rebind Tab to complete-command via bind '\C-i:complete-command'. This will give you your desired glob expansion but will probably screw up completion for other things.

Hopefully there is a better solution. If I knew what version of Bash introduced the change, I'd have a better chance of finding one.


The bash version isn't very relevant, this behaviour is part of bash-completion, a separate project.

uninstalling this package or editting its config files will give you the desired default behaviour

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