Restricted tab-completion is annoying

John Dong jdong at
Thu Oct 11 16:05:21 UTC 2007

On Thu, Oct 11, 2007 at 08:23:38AM -0700, Aaron C. de Bruyn wrote:
> If I modify them, doesn't that mean they will get overwritten by the next update to the bash package?
No; it is a configuration file, which means dpkg will prompt you whether or
not to replace the file. You can choose not to.

> I know the reasons for program-specific tab completion--I love it with svn, but it is annoying when you are trying to tab-complete a filename and it won't do it because the file doesn't end with PDF or pdf for example.
> To me it seems like this is heading down the windows route.  Give all your file names a 3 character extension so you know what to open it with.
> Shouldn't it be more 'unixy' and be based on the mime-type of the file?
You're right, the heuristic for evince is a bit flawed. mime-type would be
foolproof, but imagine how long tab would take on a directory with 10,000
files if the mime-type of each file had to be checked, rather than just the

> I maintain that the bash prompt is not supposed to be a user-friendly environment.  It's the bash prompt afterall.  It's where admins, power-users, and all-around geeks can go to do advanced stuff.
> I don't think it's a good argument to say that people need to have user-friendly hand-holding at the command prompt.  If I want to run 'evince somefile.asp' I should be able to.  I don't care if the extension is .asp .pdf or .mystupidfile.

For the most part I value a degree of user-friendliness in the shell that gets
my work done faster. I work 90% of my time in the CLI and believe that my
shell (zsh) tab completion boosts my overall productivity.

Instead, there should be convenient/intuitive ways of disabling this
functionality where it is not desired.

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