The AIX user I su to daily has no history from SSH session to SSH session. I'm using the bash shell because the Korn shell alternative does not autocomplete which is an even bigger nuisance.

I already put the lines in the .profile file in the home folder:

export HISTSIZE=10000

I don't have the root password to modify /etc/profile.

When I do


I get /users/me/.bash_history instead of /users/user_I_su_to/.bash_history

I also tried adding to file /users/user_I_su_to/.bash_history the line: export HISTFILE=/usagers/user_I_su_to/.bash_history

Naturally I logged out of my SSH sessions and back in to apply.

  • 1
    Is $HISTFILE set to something valid?
    – Jeff Schaller
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 16:46
  • ls $HISTFILE gives me /users/wronguser/.bash_history I am "wronguser", the history I want is for the user I su'ed to. I tried adding in .profile export HISTFILE=/users/suedto/.bash_history but that doesn't seem to work (?) Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 19:12
  • 2
    Burying surprises in question comments does not make for good questions or answers. Your question should mention these facts straight off the bat.
    – JdeBP
    Commented Mar 6, 2018 at 20:49
  • 1
    You can enable ksh autocompletion. set -o vi-tabcomplete and If you're using stock ksh, you can use "Esc-\" for completion.
    – Kiwy
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


Resolved this. The history is correctly displayed if I su using the syntax:

su - user_I_su_to

instead of:

su user_I_su_to

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