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This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-8.1 since
the release of readline-8.0.
New Features in Readline
a. If a second consecutive completion attempt produces matches where the first
did not, treat it as a new completion attempt and insert a match as
b. Bracketed paste mode works in more places: incremental search strings, vi
overstrike mode, character search, and reading numeric arguments.
c. Readline automatically switches to horizontal scrolling if the terminal has
only one line.
d. Unbinding all key sequences bound to a particular readline function now
descends into keymaps for multi-key sequences.
e. rl-clear-display: new bindable command that clears the screen and, if
possible, the scrollback buffer (bound to emacs mode M-C-l by default).
f. New active mark and face feature: when enabled, it will highlight the text
inserted by a bracketed paste (the `active region') and the text found by
incremental and non-incremental history searches. This is tied to bracketed
paste and can be disabled by turning off bracketed paste.
g. Readline sets the mark in several additional commands.
h. Bracketed paste mode is enabled by default. There is a configure-time
option (--enable-bracketed-paste-default) to set the default to on or off.
i. Readline tries to take advantage of the more regular structure of UTF-8
characters to identify the beginning and end of characters when moving
through the line buffer.
j. The bindable operate-and-get-next command (and its default bindings) are
now part of readline instead of a bash-specific addition.
k. The signal cleanup code now blocks SIGINT while processing after a SIGINT.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-8.0 since
the release of readline-7.0.
New Features in Readline
a. Non-incremental vi-mode search (`N', `n') can search for a shell pattern, as
Posix specifies (uses fnmatch(3) if available).
b. There are new `next-screen-line' and `previous-screen-line' bindable
commands, which move the cursor to the same column in the next, or previous,
physical line, respectively.
c. There are default key bindings for control-arrow-key key combinations.
d. A negative argument (-N) to `quoted-insert' means to insert the next N
characters using quoted-insert.
e. New public function: rl_check_signals(), which allows applications to
respond to signals that readline catches while waiting for input using
a custom read function.
f. There is new support for conditionally testing the readline version in an
inputrc file, with a full set of arithmetic comparison operators available.
g. There is a simple variable comparison facility available for use within an
inputrc file. Allowable operators are equality and inequality; string
variables may be compared to a value; boolean variables must be compared to
either `on' or `off'; variable names are separated from the operator by
h. The history expansion library now understands command and process
substitution and extended globbing and allows them to appear anywhere in a
i. The history library has a new variable that allows applications to set the
initial quoting state, so quoting state can be inherited from a previous
j. Readline now allows application-defined keymap names; there is a new public
function, rl_set_keymap_name(), to do that.
k. The "Insert" keypad key, if available, now puts readline into overwrite
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-7.0 since
the release of readline-6.3.
New Features in Readline
a. The history truncation code now uses the same error recovery mechansim as
the history writing code, and restores the old version of the history file
on error. The error recovery mechanism handles symlinked history files.
b. There is a new bindable variable, `enable-bracketed-paste', which enables
support for a terminal's bracketed paste mode.
c. The editing mode indicators can now be strings and are user-settable
(new `emacs-mode-string', `vi-cmd-mode-string' and `vi-ins-mode-string'
variables). Mode strings can contain invisible character sequences.
Setting mode strings to null strings restores the defaults.
d. Prompt expansion adds the mode string to the last line of a multi-line
prompt (one with embedded newlines).
e. There is a new bindable variable, `colored-completion-prefix', which, if
set, causes the common prefix of a set of possible completions to be
displayed in color.
f. There is a new bindable command `vi-yank-pop', a vi-mode version of emacs-
mode yank-pop.
g. The redisplay code underwent several efficiency improvements for multibyte
h. The insert-char function attempts to batch-insert all pending typeahead
that maps to self-insert, as long as it is coming from the terminal.
i. rl_callback_sigcleanup: a new application function that can clean up and
unset any state set by readline's callback mode. Intended to be used
after a signal.
j. If an incremental search string has its last character removed with DEL, the
resulting empty search string no longer matches the previous line.
k. If readline reads a history file that begins with `#' (or the value of
the history comment character) and has enabled history timestamps, the history
entries are assumed to be delimited by timestamps. This allows multi-line
history entries.
l. Readline now throws an error if it parses a key binding without a terminating
`:' or whitespace.
m. The default binding for ^W in vi mode now uses word boundaries specified
by Posix (vi-unix-word-rubout is bindable command name).
n. rl_clear_visible_line: new application-callable function; clears all
screen lines occupied by the current visible readline line.
o. rl_tty_set_echoing: application-callable function that controls whether
or not readline thinks it is echoing terminal output.
p. Handle >| and strings of digits preceding and following redirection
specifications as single tokens when tokenizing the line for history
q. Fixed a bug with displaying completions when the prefix display length
is greater than the length of the completions to be displayed.
r. The :p history modifier now applies to the entire line, so any expansion
specifying :p causes the line to be printed instead of expanded.
s. New application-callable function: rl_pending_signal(): returns the signal
number of any signal readline has caught but not yet handled.
t. New application-settable variable: rl_persistent_signal_handlers: if set
to a non-zero value, readline will enable the readline-6.2 signal handler
behavior in callback mode: handlers are installed when
rl_callback_handler_install is called and removed removed when a complete
line has been read.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-6.3 since
the release of readline-6.2.
New Features in Readline
a. Readline is now more responsive to SIGHUP and other fatal signals when
reading input from the terminal or performing word completion but no
longer attempts to run any not-allowable functions from a signal handler
b. There are new bindable commands to search the history for the string of
characters between the beginning of the line and the point
(history-substring-search-forward, history-substring-search-backward)
c. Readline allows quoted strings as the values of variables when setting
them with `set'. As a side effect, trailing spaces and tabs are ignored
when setting a string variable's value.
d. The history library creates a backup of the history file when writing it
and restores the backup on a write error.
e. New application-settable variable: rl_filename_stat_hook: a function called
with a filename before using it in a call to stat(2). Bash uses it to
expand shell variables so things like $HOME/Downloads have a slash
f. New bindable function `print-last-kbd-macro', prints the most-recently-
defined keyboard macro in a reusable format.
g. New user-settable variable `colored-stats', enables use of colored text
to denote file types when displaying possible completions (colored analog
of visible-stats).
h. New user-settable variable `keyseq-timout', acts as an inter-character
timeout when reading input or incremental search strings.
i. New application-callable function: rl_clear_history. Clears the history list
and frees all readline-associated private data.
j. New user-settable variable, show-mode-in-prompt, adds a characters to the
beginning of the prompt indicating the current editing mode.
k. New application-settable variable: rl_input_available_hook; function to be
called when readline detects there is data available on its input file
l. Readline calls an application-set event hook (rl_event_hook) after it gets
a signal while reading input (read returns -1/EINTR but readline does not
handle the signal immediately) to allow the application to handle or
otherwise note it.
m. If the user-settable variable `history-size' is set to a value less than
0, the history list size is unlimited.
n. New application-settable variable: rl_signal_event_hook; function that is
called when readline is reading terminal input and read(2) is interrupted
by a signal. Currently not called for SIGHUP or SIGTERM.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-6.2 since
the release of readline-6.1.
a. The history library does not try to write the history filename in the
current directory if $HOME is unset. This closes a potential security
problem if the application does not specify a history filename.
b. New bindable variable `completion-display-width' to set the number of
columns used when displaying completions.
c. New bindable variable `completion-case-map' to cause case-insensitive
completion to treat `-' and `_' as identical.
d. There are new bindable vi-mode command names to avoid readline's case-
insensitive matching not allowing them to be bound separately.
e. New bindable variable `menu-complete-display-prefix' causes the menu
completion code to display the common prefix of the possible completions
before cycling through the list, instead of after.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-6.1 since
the release of readline-6.0.
New Features in Readline
a. New bindable function: menu-complete-backward.
b. In the vi insertion keymap, C-n is now bound to menu-complete by default,
and C-p to menu-complete-backward.
c. When in vi command mode, repeatedly hitting ESC now does nothing, even
when ESC introduces a bound key sequence. This is closer to how
historical vi behaves.
d. New bindable function: skip-csi-sequence. Can be used as a default to
consume key sequences generated by keys like Home and End without having
to bind all keys.
e. New application-settable function: rl_filename_rewrite_hook. Can be used
to rewite or modify filenames read from the file system before they are
compared to the word to be completed.
f. New bindable variable: skip-completed-text, active when completing in the
middle of a word. If enabled, it means that characters in the completion
that match characters in the remainder of the word are "skipped" rather
than inserted into the line.
g. The pre-readline-6.0 version of menu completion is available as
"old-menu-complete" for users who do not like the readline-6.0 version.
h. New bindable variable: echo-control-characters. If enabled, and the
tty ECHOCTL bit is set, controls the echoing of characters corresponding
to keyboard-generated signals.
i. New bindable variable: enable-meta-key. Controls whether or not readline
sends the smm/rmm sequences if the terminal indicates it has a meta key
that enables eight-bit characters.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-6.0 since
the release of readline-5.2.
New Features in Readline
a. A new variable, rl_sort_completion_matches; allows applications to inhibit
match list sorting (but beware: some things don't work right if
applications do this).
b. A new variable, rl_completion_invoking_key; allows applications to discover
the key that invoked rl_complete or rl_menu_complete.
c. The functions rl_block_sigint and rl_release_sigint are now public and
available to calling applications who want to protect critical sections
(like redisplay).
d. The functions rl_save_state and rl_restore_state are now public and
available to calling applications; documented rest of readline's state
flag values.
e. A new user-settable variable, `history-size', allows setting the maximum
number of entries in the history list.
f. There is a new implementation of menu completion, with several improvements
over the old; the most notable improvement is a better `completions
browsing' mode.
g. The menu completion code now uses the rl_menu_completion_entry_function
variable, allowing applications to provide their own menu completion
h. There is support for replacing a prefix of a pathname with a `...' when
displaying possible completions. This is controllable by setting the
`completion-prefix-display-length' variable. Matches with a common prefix
longer than this value have the common prefix replaced with `...'.
i. There is a new `revert-all-at-newline' variable. If enabled, readline will
undo all outstanding changes to all history lines when `accept-line' is
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-5.2 since
the release of readline-5.1.
New Features in Readline
a. Calling applications can now set the keyboard timeout to 0, allowing
poll-like behavior.
b. The value of SYS_INPUTRC (configurable at compilation time) is now used as
the default last-ditch startup file.
c. The history file reading functions now allow windows-like \r\n line
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-5.1 since
the release of readline-5.0.
New Features in Readline
a. The key sequence sent by the keypad `delete' key is now automatically
bound to delete-char.
b. A negative argument to menu-complete now cycles backward through the
completion list.
c. A new bindable readline variable: bind-tty-special-chars. If non-zero,
readline will bind the terminal special characters to their readline
equivalents when it's called (on by default).
d. New bindable command: vi-rubout. Saves deleted text for possible
reinsertion, as with any vi-mode `text modification' command; `X' is bound
to this in vi command mode.
e. If the rl_completion_query_items is set to a value < 0, readline never
asks the user whether or not to view the possible completions.
f. New application-callable auxiliary function, rl_variable_value, returns
a string corresponding to a readline variable's value.
g. When parsing inputrc files and variable binding commands, the parser
strips trailing whitespace from values assigned to boolean variables
before checking them.
h. A new external application-controllable variable that allows the LINES
and COLUMNS environment variables to set the window size regardless of
what the kernel returns.
This is a terse description of the new features added to readline-5.0 since
the release of readline-4.3.
New Features in Readline
a. History expansion has a new `a' modifier equivalent to the `g' modifier
for compatibility with the BSD csh.
b. History expansion has a new `G' modifier equivalent to the BSD csh `g'
modifier, which performs a substitution once per word.
c. All non-incremental search operations may now undo the operation of
replacing the current line with the history line.
d. The text inserted by an `a' command in vi mode can be reinserted with
e. New bindable variable, `show-all-if-unmodified'. If set, the readline
completer will list possible completions immediately if there is more
than one completion and partial completion cannot be performed.
f. There is a new application-callable `free_history_entry()' function.
g. History list entries now contain timestamp information; the history file
functions know how to read and write timestamp information associated
with each entry.
h. Four new key binding functions have been added:
i. New application variable, rl_completion_quote_character, set to any
quote character readline finds before it calls the application completion
j. New application variable, rl_completion_suppress_quote, settable by an
application completion function. If set to non-zero, readline does not
attempt to append a closing quote to a completed word.
k. New application variable, rl_completion_found_quote, set to a non-zero
value if readline determines that the word to be completed is quoted.
Set before readline calls any application completion function.
l. New function hook, rl_completion_word_break_hook, called when readline
needs to break a line into words when completion is attempted. Allows
the word break characters to vary based on position in the line.
m. New bindable command: unix-filename-rubout. Does the same thing as
unix-word-rubout, but adds `/' to the set of word delimiters.
n. When listing completions, directories have a `/' appended if the
`mark-directories' option has been enabled.