Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

Filename autocompletion on the command line

19th October 2007

The Windows 2000 command line feels an austere primitive when compared with the wonders of the UNIX/Linux equivalent. Windows XP feels a little better and PowerShell is another animal altogether. With the latter pair, you do get file or folder autocompletion upon hitting the TAB key. What I didn’t realise until recently was that continued tabbed cycled through the possibilities; I was hitting it once and retyping when I got the wrong folder or file. I stand corrected. With the shell in Linux/UNIX, you can get a listing of possibilities when you hit TAB for the second time and the first time only gives you completion as far as it can go with certainty; you’ll never get to the wrong place but you may not get anywhere at all. This works for bash but not ksh88 as far as I can see. It’s interesting how you can take two different approaches in order to reach the same end.

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