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Re: Filename completion causes doubling of initial ':' character

From: Chet Ramey
Subject: Re: Filename completion causes doubling of initial ':' character
Date: Sat, 3 Dec 2016 11:44:55 -0500
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On 12/3/16 6:41 AM, Ravi (Tom) Hale wrote:

> Bash Version: 4.4
> Patch Level: 5
> Release Status: release
> Description:
> ------------
> Given a filename called ':example'
> When the user enters 'command :' and hits <tab>
> Then the completion of the filename gets a doubled colon, specifically:
> ':\:example'
> Repeat-By:
> ----------
> Create a filename beginning with a ':' character:
>     $ touch :example
> Type `rm :` and hit tab, then enter.
> I'd expect to see:
>     rm :example
>     [rm silently deletes it]

This has come up many times over the years.  Here's one from 2003:


Question E13 in the Bash FAQ answers it.

The short answer is that colon is special to readline: it breaks words for
the readline completion code.  If you want to complete filenames beginning
with a colon, either quote the colon or remove colon from $COMP_WORDBREAKS.

If you're using bash-completion, it may have its own problems with colons.

``The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.'' - Chaucer
                 ``Ars longa, vita brevis'' - Hippocrates
Chet Ramey, UTech, CWRU    address@hidden    http://cnswww.cns.cwru.edu/~chet/

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