Excellent Utilities: Liquid Prompt – adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh

This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’re covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

For anyone spending time at the CLI, they’ll rely on the shell prompt. My favorite shell is Bash. By default, the configuration for Bash on popular distributions identifies the user name, hostname, and the current working directory. All essential information. But with Liquid Prompt you can display additional information such as battery status, CPU temperature, and much more.


I’m not going to dwell on this section, mainly because the project’s website succinctly explains the process. And most popular distros offer Liquid Prompt in their software repositories.

The project requires no major dependencies, relying on common Linux utilities such as grep, ps, awk and others. But if you want to compile the software, you need to clone the project’s repository with the command:

$ git clone https://github.com/nojhan/liquidprompt.git

You can initiate the utility with:

$ source liquidprompt/liquidprompt

If you want to use it on a regular basis, add the lines below to ~/.bashrc (if you’re running the Bash shell) or ~/.zshrc (if you use zsh):

# Only load Liquid Prompt in interactive shells, not from a script or from scp
[[ $- = *i* ]] && source ~/liquidprompt/liquidprompt

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
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