On an Amazon aws ec2 openSuSE instance:

thufir@ip-<ip>:~> echo $PS1

how do I set the prompt to something more friendly? It's fine that the h value, presumably hostname, reflects the IP address. Without changing the hostname itself how do I create a "alias" of sorts that's more human readable than an IP address? So that the prompt would read `thufir@foo:/home/

(The user was added through yast -- easy enough.)

  • Are you open to putting the ip in /etc/hosts?
    – Jeff Schaller
    Nov 15, 2017 at 0:11

1 Answer 1


depends on your shell.. but from BASH manpage:

       When executing interactively, bash displays the primary prompt PS1 when it is ready to read a command, and the secondary prompt PS2 when  it
       needs  more  input  to  complete  a  command.  Bash displays PS0 after it reads a command but before executing it.  Bash allows these prompt
       strings to be customized by inserting a number of backslash-escaped special characters that are decoded as follows:
              \a     an ASCII bell character (07)
              \d     the date in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 26")
                     the format is passed to strftime(3) and the result is inserted into the prompt string; an empty format results  in  a  locale-
                     specific time representation.  The braces are required
              \e     an ASCII escape character (033)
              \h     the hostname up to the first `.'
              \H     the hostname
              \j     the number of jobs currently managed by the shell
              \l     the basename of the shell's terminal device name
              \n     newline
              \r     carriage return
              \s     the name of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion following the final slash)
              \t     the current time in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format
              \T     the current time in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format
              \@     the current time in 12-hour am/pm format
              \A     the current time in 24-hour HH:MM format
              \u     the username of the current user
              \v     the version of bash (e.g., 2.00)
              \V     the release of bash, version + patch level (e.g., 2.00.0)
              \w     the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde (uses the value of the PROMPT_DIRTRIM variable)
              \W     the basename of the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde
              \!     the history number of this command
              \#     the command number of this command
              \$     if the effective UID is 0, a #, otherwise a $
              \nnn   the character corresponding to the octal number nnn
              \\     a backslash
              \[     begin a sequence of non-printing characters, which could be used to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt
              \]     end a sequence of non-printing characters

       The  command number and the history number are usually different: the history number of a command is its position in the history list, which
       may include commands restored from the history file (see HISTORY below), while the command number is the position in the  sequence  of  com-
       mands executed during the current shell session.  After the string is decoded, it is expanded via parameter expansion, command substitution,
       arithmetic expansion, and quote removal, subject to the value of the promptvars shell option (see the description of the shopt command under

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