Two things that improve my bash productivity – stopping the cursor keys inserting characters in vim and history search in bash.

Edit ~/.vimrc or /etc/vim/vimrc (for system wide) and add turn off vi compatibility:

set nocompatible

The latter can be improved by editing ~/.inputrc (or /etc/inputrc for everyone). Pressing the up key scrolls through all the commands you’ve typed but by adding:


You can type the first letter or two and get the command you need, so if you typed “mysql -u root -p” last Tuesday but can’t remember the options, typing “my” and pressing the up key will find it.

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