Bash/Prompt customization

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There are a variety of possibilities for Bash's prompt (PS1), and customizing it can help you be more productive at the command line. You can add additional information to your prompt, or you can simply add color to it to make the prompt stand out. See this Forum thread for more information and examples.

Basic prompts

The following settings are useful for distinguishing the root prompt from non-root users.

  • Edit Bash's personal configuration file:
$ nano ~/.bashrc
  • Comment out the default prompt:
# PS1='[\u@\h \W]\$ '
  • Add the following green prompt for regular users:
[chiri@zetsubou ~]$ _
PS1='\[\e[1;32m\][\u@\h \W]\$\[\e[0m\] '
  • Edit root's .bashrc file; copy it from /etc/skel if the file is not present:
$ nano /root/.bashrc
  • Assign a red prompt for root:
[root@zetsubou ~]# _
PS1='\[\e[1;31m\][\u@\h \W]\$\[\e[0m\] '

Slightly fancier prompts

  • A green and blue prompt for regular users:
chiri ~/docs $ echo "sample output text"
sample output text
chiri ~/docs $ _
PS1='\[\e[0;32m\]\u\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;34m\]\w\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;32m\]\$\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;37m\]'

This will give a very pleasing, colorful prompt and theme for the console with bright white text.

The string above contains color-set escape sequences (start coloring: \[\e[color\], end coloring: \[\e[m\]) and information placeholders:

  • \u - Username. The original prompt also has \h, which prints the host name.
  • \w - Current absolute path. Use \W for current relative path.
  • \$ - The prompt character (eg. '#' for root, '$' for regular users).

The last color-set sequence, "\[\e[1;37m\]", is not closed, so the remaining text (everything typed into the terminal, program output and so on) will be in that (bright white) color. It may be desirable to change this color, or to delete the last escape sequence in order to leave the actual output in unaltered color.

  • A red and blue prompt for root:
root ~/docs # echo "sample output text"
sample output text
root ~/docs # _
PS1='\[\e[0;31m\]\u\[\e[m\] \[\e[1;34m\]\w\[\e[m\] \[\e[0;31m\]\$ \[\e[m\]\[\e[0;32m\]'

This will give you a red designation and green console text.

Once you have made your changes to .bashrc, to execute your changes:

$ source ~/.bashrc

Advanced prompts

Load/Mem Status for 256colors

This is not even pushing the limits. Other than using 'sed' to parse the memory and load average (using the -u option for non-buffering), and the builtin history to save your history to your HISTFILE after every command, which you may find incredibly useful when dealing with crashing shells or subshells, this is essentially just making BASH print variables it already knows, making this extremely fast compared to prompts with non-builtin commands.

This prompt is from's BASH Power Prompt article, which goes into greater detail. It is especially helpful for those wanting to understand 256 color terminals, ncurses, termcap, and terminfo.

This is for 256 color terminals, which is where the \033[38;5;22m terminal escapes come from.

802/1024MB      1.28 1.20 1.13 3/94 18563
[5416:17880 0:70] 05:35:50 Wed Apr 21 [ +1] ~
(1:70)$ _
PROMPT_COMMAND='history -a;echo -en "\033[m\033[38;5;2m"$(( $(sed -nu "s/MemFree:[\t ]\+\([0-9]\+\) kB/\1/p" /proc/meminfo)/1024))"\033[38;5;22m/"$(($(sed -nu "s/MemTotal:[\t ]\+\([0-9]\+\) kB/\1/Ip" /proc/meminfo)/1024 ))MB"\t\033[m\033[38;5;55m$(< /proc/loadavg)\033[m"'
PS1='\[\e[m\n\e[1;30m\][$$:$PPID \j:\!\[\e[1;30m\]]\[\e[0;36m\] \T \d \[\e[1;30m\][\[\e[1;34m\]\u@\H\[\e[1;30m\]:\[\e[0;37m\]${SSH_TTY} \[\e[0;32m\]+${SHLVL}\[\e[1;30m\]] \[\e[1;37m\]\w\[\e[0;37m\] \n($SHLVL:\!)\$ '

List of colors for prompt and Bash

Add this to your Bash file(s) to define colors for prompt and commands:

txtblk='\e[0;30m' # Black - Regular
txtred='\e[0;31m' # Red
txtgrn='\e[0;32m' # Green
txtylw='\e[0;33m' # Yellow
txtblu='\e[0;34m' # Blue
txtpur='\e[0;35m' # Purple
txtcyn='\e[0;36m' # Cyan
txtwht='\e[0;37m' # White
bldblk='\e[1;30m' # Black - Bold
bldred='\e[1;31m' # Red
bldgrn='\e[1;32m' # Green
bldylw='\e[1;33m' # Yellow
bldblu='\e[1;34m' # Blue
bldpur='\e[1;35m' # Purple
bldcyn='\e[1;36m' # Cyan
bldwht='\e[1;37m' # White
unkblk='\e[4;30m' # Black - Underline
undred='\e[4;31m' # Red
undgrn='\e[4;32m' # Green
undylw='\e[4;33m' # Yellow
undblu='\e[4;34m' # Blue
undpur='\e[4;35m' # Purple
undcyn='\e[4;36m' # Cyan
undwht='\e[4;37m' # White
bakblk='\e[40m'   # Black - Background
bakred='\e[41m'   # Red
bakgrn='\e[42m'   # Green
bakylw='\e[43m'   # Yellow
bakblu='\e[44m'   # Blue
bakpur='\e[45m'   # Purple
bakcyn='\e[46m'   # Cyan
bakwht='\e[47m'   # White
txtrst='\e[0m'    # Text Reset

Or if you prefer color names you will know how to spell without a special decoder ring and want high intensity colors:

# Reset
Color_Off='\e[0m'       # Text Reset

# Regular Colors
Black='\e[0;30m'        # Black
Red='\e[0;31m'          # Red
Green='\e[0;32m'        # Green
Yellow='\e[0;33m'       # Yellow
Blue='\e[0;34m'         # Blue
Purple='\e[0;35m'       # Purple
Cyan='\e[0;36m'         # Cyan
White='\e[0;37m'        # White

# Bold
BBlack='\e[1;30m'       # Black
BRed='\e[1;31m'         # Red
BGreen='\e[1;32m'       # Green
BYellow='\e[1;33m'      # Yellow
BBlue='\e[1;34m'        # Blue
BPurple='\e[1;35m'      # Purple
BCyan='\e[1;36m'        # Cyan
BWhite='\e[1;37m'       # White

# Underline
UBlack='\e[4;30m'       # Black
URed='\e[4;31m'         # Red
UGreen='\e[4;32m'       # Green
UYellow='\e[4;33m'      # Yellow
UBlue='\e[4;34m'        # Blue
UPurple='\e[4;35m'      # Purple
UCyan='\e[4;36m'        # Cyan
UWhite='\e[4;37m'       # White

# Background
On_Black='\e[40m'       # Black
On_Red='\e[41m'         # Red
On_Green='\e[42m'       # Green
On_Yellow='\e[43m'      # Yellow
On_Blue='\e[44m'        # Blue
On_Purple='\e[45m'      # Purple
On_Cyan='\e[46m'        # Cyan
On_White='\e[47m'       # White

# High Intensity
IBlack='\e[0;90m'       # Black
IRed='\e[0;91m'         # Red
IGreen='\e[0;92m'       # Green
IYellow='\e[0;93m'      # Yellow
IBlue='\e[0;94m'        # Blue
IPurple='\e[0;95m'      # Purple
ICyan='\e[0;96m'        # Cyan
IWhite='\e[0;97m'       # White

# Bold High Intensity
BIBlack='\e[1;90m'      # Black
BIRed='\e[1;91m'        # Red
BIGreen='\e[1;92m'      # Green
BIYellow='\e[1;93m'     # Yellow
BIBlue='\e[1;94m'       # Blue
BIPurple='\e[1;95m'     # Purple
BICyan='\e[1;96m'       # Cyan
BIWhite='\e[1;97m'      # White

# High Intensity backgrounds
On_IBlack='\e[0;100m'   # Black
On_IRed='\e[0;101m'     # Red
On_IGreen='\e[0;102m'   # Green
On_IYellow='\e[0;103m'  # Yellow
On_IBlue='\e[0;104m'    # Blue
On_IPurple='\e[0;105m'  # Purple
On_ICyan='\e[0;106m'    # Cyan
On_IWhite='\e[0;107m'   # White

To use in commands from your shell environment:

$ echo -e "${txtblu}test"
$ echo -e "${bldblu}test"
$ echo -e "${undblu}test"
$ echo -e "${bakblu}test"
$ _

To use in a prompt (note double quotes to enable $color variable expansion and \[ \] escapes around them so they are not counted as character positions and the cursor position is not wrong):

PS1="\[$txtblu\]foo\[$txtred\] bar\[$txtrst\] baz : "

If you experience premature line wrapping when entering commands at the prompt then missing escapes is most likely to be the reason.

Prompt escapes

The various Bash prompt escapes listed in the manpage:

Bash allows these prompt strings to be customized by inserting a
number of backslash-escaped special characters that are
decoded as follows:

	\a		an ASCII bell character (07)
	\d		the date in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 26")
	\D{format}	the format is passed to strftime(3) and the result
			  is inserted into the prompt string an empty format
			  results in a locale-specific time representation.
			  The braces are required
	\e		an ASCII escape character (033)
	\h		the hostname up to the first `.'
	\H		the hostname
	\j		the number of jobs currently managed by the shell
	\l		the basename of the shell's terminal device name
	\n		newline
	\r		carriage return
	\s		the name of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion following
			  the final slash)
	\t		the current time in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format
	\T		the current time in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format
	\@		the current time in 12-hour am/pm format
	\A		the current time in 24-hour HH:MM format
	\u		the username of the current user
	\v		the version of bash (e.g., 2.00)
	\V		the release of bash, version + patch level (e.g., 2.00.0)
	\w		the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde
	\W		the basename of the current working directory, with $HOME
			 abbreviated with a tilde
	\!		the history number of this command
	\#		the command number of this command
	\$		if the effective UID is 0, a #, otherwise a $
	\nnn		the character corresponding to the octal number nnn
	\\		a backslash
	\[		begin a sequence of non-printing characters, which could be used
			  to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt
	\]		end a sequence of non-printing characters

	The command number and the history number are usually different:
	the history number of a command is its position in the history
	list, which may include commands restored from the history file
	(see HISTORY below), while the command number is the position in
	the sequence of commands executed during the current shell session.
	After the string is decoded, it is expanded via parameter
	expansion, command substitution, arithmetic expansion, and quote
	removal, subject to the value of the promptvars shell option (see
	the description of the shopt command under SHELL BUILTIN COMMANDS

Positioning the cursor

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: The last example don't work (at least on Bash). Seems to have a problem in \[\033[1;\$((COLUMNS-4))f\] (Discuss in Talk:Bash/Prompt customization#)

The following sequence sets the cursor position:


The current cursor position can be saved using:


To restore a position, use the following sequence:


The following example uses these sequences to display the time in the upper right corner:

PS1=">\[\033[s\]\[\033[1;\$((COLUMNS-4))f\]\$(date +%H:%M)\[\033[u\]"

The environment variable COLUMNS contains the number of columns of the terminal. The above example substracts 4 from its value in order to justify the five character wide output of date at the right border.

Return value visualisation

Use this prompt if you want to see the return value of the last executed command.

#return value visualisation
PS1="\$? \$(if [[ \$? == 0 ]]; then echo \"\[\033[0;32m\];)\"; else echo \"\[\033[0;31m\];(\"; fi)\[\033[00m\] : "

This will give you basic prompt:

0 ;) : true
0 ;) : false
1 ;( :

Zero is a green smiley (replace it with anything you want) and non-zero is a red one. So your prompt will smile if the last operation was successful.

But you will probably want to use the return value in your own prompt, like this:

0 ;) andy@alba ~ $ true
0 ;) andy@alba ~ $ false
1 ;( andy@alba ~ $ _

with a code like this one:

#return value visualisation
PS1="\[\033[01;37m\]\$? \$(if [[ \$? == 0 ]]; then echo \"\[\033[01;32m\];)\"; else echo \"\[\033[01;31m\];(\"; fi) $(if [[ ${EUID} == 0 ]]; then echo '\[\033[01;31m\]\h'; else echo '\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h'; fi)\[\033[01;34m\] \w \$\[\033[00m\] "

Or, if you want, you can build your prompt using the unicode symbol for a zero status and the unicode symbol for a nonzero status:

0 ✓ andy@alba ~ $ true
0 ✓ andy@alba ~ $ false
1 andy@alba ~ $ I\ will\ try\ to\ type\ a\ wrong\ command...
bash: I will try to type a wrong command...: command not found
127 andy@alba ~ $ _

starting from a code like this other one:

#return value visualisation
PS1="\[\033[01;37m\]\$? \$(if [[ \$? == 0 ]]; then echo \"\[\033[01;32m\]\342\234\223\"; else echo \"\[\033[01;31m\]\342\234\227\"; fi) $(if [[ ${EUID} == 0 ]]; then echo '\[\033[01;31m\]\h'; else echo '\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h'; fi)\[\033[01;34m\] \w \$\[\033[00m\] "

Here's an alternative that only include the error status if it is nonzero:

PROMPT_COMMAND='es=$?; [[ $es -eq 0 ]] && unset error || error=$(echo -e "\e[1;41m $es \e[40m")'
PS1="${error} ${PS1}"


After reading through most of the Bash Prompt Howto, the author developed a color bash prompt that displays the last 25 characters of the current working directory. This prompt should work well on terminals with a black background. The following code goes in file ~/.bashrc.

  • Add the bash_prompt_command function. If you have a couple directories with long names or start entering a lot of subdirectories, this function will keep the command prompt from wrapping around the screen by displaying at most the last pwdmaxlen characters from the PWD. This code was taken from the Bash Prompt Howto's section on Controlling the Size and Appearance of $PWD and modified to replace the user's home directory with a tilde.
# Fancy PWD display function
# The home directory (HOME) is replaced with a ~
# The last pwdmaxlen characters of the PWD are displayed
# Leading partial directory names are striped off
# /home/me/stuff		-> ~/stuff			if USER=me
# /usr/share/big_dir_name	-> ../share/big_dir_name	if pwdmaxlen=20

bash_prompt_command() {
	# How many characters of the $PWD should be kept
	local pwdmaxlen=25
	# Indicate that there has been dir truncation
	local trunc_symbol=".."
	local dir=${PWD##*/}
	pwdmaxlen=$(( ( pwdmaxlen < ${#dir} ) ? ${#dir} : pwdmaxlen ))
	local pwdoffset=$(( ${#NEW_PWD} - pwdmaxlen ))
	if [ ${pwdoffset} -gt "0" ]
  • The next fragment generates the command prompt and various colors are defined. The user's color for the username, hostname, and prompt ($ or #) is set to cyan, and if the user is root (root's UID is always 0), set the color to red. The command prompt is set to a colored version of Arch's default with the NEW_PWD from the last function.
Also, make sure that your color variables are enclosed in double and not single quote marks. Using single quote marks seems to give Bash problems with line wrapping correctly.
bash_prompt() {
	case $TERM in
			local TITLEBAR='\[\033]0;\u:${NEW_PWD}\007\]'
			local TITLEBAR=""
	local NONE="\[\033[0m\]"	# unsets color to term's fg color
	# regular colors
	local K="\[\033[0;30m\]"	# black
	local R="\[\033[0;31m\]"	# red
	local G="\[\033[0;32m\]"	# green
	local Y="\[\033[0;33m\]"	# yellow
	local B="\[\033[0;34m\]"	# blue
	local M="\[\033[0;35m\]"	# magenta
	local C="\[\033[0;36m\]"	# cyan
	local W="\[\033[0;37m\]"	# white
	# emphasized (bolded) colors
	local EMK="\[\033[1;30m\]"
	local EMR="\[\033[1;31m\]"
	local EMG="\[\033[1;32m\]"
	local EMY="\[\033[1;33m\]"
	local EMB="\[\033[1;34m\]"
	local EMM="\[\033[1;35m\]"
	local EMC="\[\033[1;36m\]"
	local EMW="\[\033[1;37m\]"
	# background colors
	local BGK="\[\033[40m\]"
	local BGR="\[\033[41m\]"
	local BGG="\[\033[42m\]"
	local BGY="\[\033[43m\]"
	local BGB="\[\033[44m\]"
	local BGM="\[\033[45m\]"
	local BGC="\[\033[46m\]"
	local BGW="\[\033[47m\]"
	local UC=$W			# user's color
	[ $UID -eq "0" ] && UC=$R	# root's color
	PS1="$TITLEBAR ${EMK}[${UC}\u${EMK}@${UC}\h ${EMB}\${NEW_PWD}${EMK}]${UC}\\$ ${NONE}"
	# without colors: PS1="[\u@\h \${NEW_PWD}]\\$ "
	# extra backslash in front of \$ to make bash colorize the prompt
  • Finally, append this code. This ensures that the NEW_PWD variable will be updated when you cd somewhere else, and it sets the PS1 variable, which contains the command prompt.
unset bash_prompt


These prompts offer a little more flash and visual clarity. Note that the use of red in the root user's prompt should provide ample warning. That is not to say someone could not use flashing text or arrow to do even more, but these will give you a good starting point.

First, change the default background in your terminal preferences (this example uses Xfce's Terminal program) to #D2D2D2, and the text color to #000000. The font is listed as DejaVu Sans Mono Book 12. The cursor color is #00AA00, and the tab activity color is #AF0000.

Second, in ~/.bashrc and right after the PS1= line, enter a new line with the following:

PS1='\e[1;33;47m\u \e[1;32;47mon \h \e[1;35;47m\d \@\e[0;0m\n\e[1;34m[dir.= \w] \# > \e[0;0m'

And then place a # in front of the first PS1 line to remark it out.

Third, for root user, edit /root/.bashrc in the same manner to include:

PS1='\e[1;31;47m\u \e[1;32;47mon \h \e[1;35;47m\d \@\e[0;0m\n\e[1;31m[dir.= \w] \# > \e[0;0m'

Do not forget to comment out the old line.

These are double-line prompts, and they should look something like these:

Root on myhost Sun Jan 15 12:30 PM
[dir.= /etc/rc.d] 1 >
Root on myhost Sun Jan 15 12:30 PM
[dir.= /etc/rc.d] 1 >

You will note that the background colors make them easier to read, and the text colors just keep things interesting. There is a lot of leeway to make them personalized, just with the use of colors. Enjoy!

Set window title

Xterm and many other terminal emulators (including PuTTY) allow you to set the window title using special escape sequences. You can define the ${XTERM_TITLE} variable as follows, then insert it at the beginning of the prompt to set xterm title (if available) to directory@user@hostname:

#set xterm title
case "$TERM" in
	xterm | xterm-color)

The text between 0; and \a can be set to anything you like, for example:

export PS1="\[\e]0;Welcome to ArchLinux\a\]\$>> "

sets the window title to "Welcome to ArchLinux" and displays this simple prompt:

$>> _

Different colors for text entry and console output

If you do not reset the text color at the end of your prompt, both the text you enter and the console text will simply stay in that color. If you want to edit text in a special color but still use the default color for command output, you will need to reset the color after you press enter, but still before any commands get run. You can do this by installing a DEBUG trap in your ~/.bashrc, like this:

trap 'echo -ne "\e[0m"' DEBUG

Laptop battery status on prompt

Read this article and this post for details.

Random quotations at logon

If you want a random quotation at logon (like Slackware) you must install fortune-mod. fortune is a simple program that displays a pseudorandom message from a database of quotations at logon and/or logout. Uncomment the following line from our /etc/bash.bashrc file:

# [[ "$PS1" ]] && /usr/bin/fortune

If you want to colorize (brown in this example) the random message from fortune, replace the previous commented text with:

[[ "$PS1" ]] && echo -e "\e[00;33m$(/usr/bin/fortune)\e[00m"

Colorized Arch latest news at logon

If you want to read the latest news from the Arch official website, instead of a random quotation from fortune, replace the following lines from our /etc/bash.bashrc file:

# fortune is a simple program that displays a pseudorandom message
# from a database of quotations at logon and/or logout.
# If you wish to use it, uncomment the following line:

# [[ "$PS1" ]] && /usr/bin/fortune


# Arch latest news

if [ "$PS1" ]; then
	# The characters "£, §" are used as metacharacters. They should not be encountered in a feed...
	echo -e "$(echo $(curl --silent | sed -e ':a;N;$!ba;s/\n/ /g') | \
		sed -e 's/&amp;/\&/g
		s/<title>/\\n\\n\\n   :: \\e[01;31m/g; s/<\/title>/\\e[00m ::\\n/g
		s/<link>/ [ \\e[01;36m/g; s/<\/link>/\\e[00m ]/g
		s/<description>/\\n\\n\\e[00;37m/g; s/<\/description>/\\e[00m\\n\\n/g
		s/<p\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<br\s*\/\?>/\n/g
		s/<b\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<strong\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[01;30m/g; s/<\/b>\|<\/strong>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<i\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<em\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[41;37m/g; s/<\/i>\|<\/em>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<u\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[4;37m/g; s/<\/u>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<code\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[00m/g; s/<\/code>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<a[^§|t]*§\([^\"]*\)\"[^>]*>\([^£]*\)[^£]*£/\\e[01;31m\2\\e[00;37m \\e[01;34m[\\e[00;37m \\e[04m\1\\e[00;37m\\e[01;34m ]\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<li\( [^>]*\)\?>/\n \\e[01;34m*\\e[00;37m /g
		s/ *<[^>]\+> */ /g

that is a small and coloured RSS escaping script written by the user grufo which will display an output like this:

   :: Arch Linux: Recent news updates ::
 [ ]

The latest and greatest news from the Arch Linux distribution.

 en-us Sun, 04 Nov 2012 16:09:46 +0000

   :: End of initscripts support ::
 [ ]

Tom Gundersen wrote:
As systemd is now the default init system, Arch Linux is receiving minimal testing on initscripts systems. Due to a lack of resources and interest, we are unlikely to work on fixing initscripts-specific bugs, and may close them as WONTFIX.
We therefore strongly encourage all users to migrate to systemd as soon as possible. See the systemd migration guide [ ].
To ease the transition, initscripts support will remain in the official repositories for the time being, unless otherwise stated. As of January 2013, we will start removing initscripts support (e.g., rc scripts) from individual packages without further notice.

 Tom Gundersen Sun, 04 Nov 2012 16:09:46 +0000,2012-11-04:/news/end-of-initscripts-support/

   :: November release of install media available ::
 [ ]

Pierre Schmitz wrote:
The latest snapshot of our install and rescue media can be found on our Download [ ] page. The 2012.11.01 ISO image mainly contains minor bug fixes, cleanups and new packages compared to the previous one:
 * First media with Linux 3.6
 * copytoram=n can be used to not copy the image to RAM on network boot. This is probably unreliable but an option for systems with very low memory.
 * cowfile_size boot parameter mainly for persistent COW on VFAT. See the README [ ] file for details.

 Pierre Schmitz Fri, 02 Nov 2012 17:54:15 +0000,2012-11-02:/news/november-release-of-install-media-available/

   :: Bug Squashing Day: Saturday 17th November ::
 [ ]

Allan McRae wrote:
The number of bugs in the Arch Linux bug tracker is creeping up so it is time for some extermination.
This is a great way for the community to get involved and help the Arch Linux team. The process is simple. First look at a bug for your favorite piece of software in the bug tracker and check if it still occurs. If it does, check the upstream project for a fix and test it to confirm it works. If there is no fix available, make sure the bug has been filed in the upstream tracker.
Join us on the #archlinux-bugs IRC channel. We are spread across timezones, so people should be around all day.

 Allan McRae Thu, 01 Nov 2012 12:28:51 +0000,2012-11-01:/news/bug-squashing-day-saturday-17th-november/

   :: ConsoleKit replaced by logind ::
 [ ]

Allan McRae wrote:
With GNOME 3.6, polkit and networkmanager moving to [extra], ConsoleKit has now been removed from the repositories. Any package that previously depended on it now relies on systemd-logind instead. That means that the system must be booted with systemd to be fully functional.
In addition to GNOME, both KDE and XFCE are also affected by this change.

 Allan McRae Tue, 30 Oct 2012 22:17:39 +0000,2012-10-30:/news/consolekit-replaced-by-logind/

   :: systemd is now the default on new installations ::
 [ ]

Thomas Bächler wrote:
The base group now contains the systemd-sysvcompat package. This means that all new installations will boot with systemd by default.
As some packages still lack native systemd units, users can install the initscripts package and use the DAEMONS array in /etc/rc.conf to start services using the legacy rc.d scripts.
This change does not affect existing installations. For the time being, the initscripts and sysvinit packages remain available from our repositories. However, individual packages may now start relying on the system being booted with systemd.
Please refer to the wiki [ ] for how to transition an existing installation to systemd.

 Thomas Bächler Sat, 13 Oct 2012 09:29:38 +0000,2012-10-13:/news/systemd-is-now-the-default-on-new-installations/

   :: Install medium 2012.10.06 introduces systemd ::
 [ ]

Pierre Schmitz wrote:
The October release of the Arch Linux install medium is available for Download [ ] and can be used for new installs or as a rescue system. It contains a set of updated packages and the following notable changes:
 * systemd is used to boot up the live system.
 * initscripts are no longer available on the live system but are still installed by default on the target system. This is likely to change in the near future.
 * EFI boot and setup has been simplified.
 * gummiboot is used to display a menu on EFI systems.
 * The following new packages are available on the live system: ethtool, fsarchiver, gummiboot-efi, mc, partclone, partimage, refind-efi, rfkill, sudo, testdisk, wget, xl2tpd

 Pierre Schmitz Sun, 07 Oct 2012 16:58:03 +0000,2012-10-07:/news/install-medium-20121006-introduces-systemd/

   :: New install medium 2012.09.07 ::
 [ ]

Pierre Schmitz wrote:
As is customary by now there is a new install medium available at the beginning of this month. The live system can be downloaded from Download [ ] and be used for new installs or as a rescue system.
In addition to a couple of updated packages and bug fixes the following changes stand out:
 * First medium with Linux 3.5 (3.5.3)
 * The script boot parameter works again (FS#31022 [ ])
 * When booting via PXE and NFS or NBD the ISO will be copied to RAM to ensure a more stable usage.
 * The live medium contains usb_modeswitch and wvdial which e.g. allows to establish a network connection using an UMTS USB dongle
 * Furthermore the newest versions of initscripts, systemd and netcfg are included.

 Pierre Schmitz Sat, 08 Sep 2012 09:48:52 +0000,2012-09-08:/news/new-install-medium-20120907/

   :: Fontconfig 2.10.1 update - manual intervention required ::
 [ ]

Andreas Radke wrote:
The fontconfig 2.10.1 update overwrites symlinks created by the former package version. These symlinks need to be removed before the update:

rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/20-unhint-small-vera.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/20-fix-globaladvance.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/29-replace-bitmap-fonts.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/30-metric-aliases.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/30-urw-aliases.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/40-nonlatin.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/45-latin.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/49-sansserif.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/51-local.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/60-latin.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/65-fonts-persian.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/65-nonlatin.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/69-unifont.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/80-delicious.conf
rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/90-synthetic.conf
pacman -Syu fontconfig

Main systemwide configuration should be done by symlinks (especially for autohinting, sub-pixel and lcdfilter):

cd /etc/fonts/conf.d
ln -s ../conf.avail/XX-foo.conf

Also check Font Configuration [ ] and Fonts [ ].

 Andreas Radke Thu, 06 Sep 2012 13:54:23 +0000,2012-09-06:/news/fontconfig-2101-update-manual-intervention-required/

   :: netcfg-2.8.9 drops deprecated rc.conf compatibility ::
 [ ]

Florian Pritz wrote:
Users of netcfg should configure all interfaces in /etc/conf.d/netcfg rather than /etc/rc.conf.

 Florian Pritz Sat, 11 Aug 2012 20:00:02 +0000,2012-08-11:/news/netcfg-289-drops-initscripts-compatibility/

   :: Install media 2012.08.04 available ::
 [ ]

Pierre Schmitz wrote:
The August snapshot of our live and install media comes with updated packages and the following changes on top of the previous ISO image [ /news/install-media-20120715-released/ ]:
 * GRUB 2.0 instead of the legacy 0.9 version is available.
 * The Installation Guide [ ] can be found at /root/install.txt.
 * ZSH with Grml's configuration [ ] is used as interactive shell to provide a user friendly and more convenient environment. This includes completion support for pacstrap, arch-chroot, pacman and most other tools.
 * The network daemon is started by default which will automatically setup your network if DHCP is available.
Note that all these changes only affect the live system and not the base system you install using pacstrap. The ISO image can be downloaded from our download page [ /download/ ]. The next snapshot is scheduled for September.

 Pierre Schmitz Sat, 04 Aug 2012 17:24:30 +0000,2012-08-04:/news/install-media-20120804-available/

andy@alba _

If you don't want to see months worth of updates but only the latest item, you can use this::

# Arch latest news

if [ "$PS1" ]; then
	# The characters "£, §" are used as metacharacters. They should not be encountered in a feed...
	echo -e "$(echo $(curl --silent | awk ' NR == 1 {while ($0 !~ /<\/item>/) {print;getline} sub(/<\/item>.*/,"</item>") ;print}' | sed -e ':a;N;$!ba;s/\n/ /g') | \
		sed -e 's/&amp;/\&/g
		s/<title>/\\n\\n\\n   :: \\e[01;31m/g; s/<\/title>/\\e[00m ::\\n/g
		s/<link>/ [ \\e[01;36m/g; s/<\/link>/\\e[00m ]/g
		s/<description>/\\n\\n\\e[00;37m/g; s/<\/description>/\\e[00m\\n\\n/g
		s/<p\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<br\s*\/\?>/\n/g
		s/<b\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<strong\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[01;30m/g; s/<\/b>\|<\/strong>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<i\( [^>]*\)\?>\|<em\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[41;37m/g; s/<\/i>\|<\/em>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<u\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[4;37m/g; s/<\/u>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<code\( [^>]*\)\?>/\\e[00m/g; s/<\/code>/\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<a[^§|t]*§\([^\"]*\)\"[^>]*>\([^£]*\)[^£]*£/\\e[01;31m\2\\e[00;37m \\e[01;34m[\\e[00;37m \\e[04m\1\\e[00;37m\\e[01;34m ]\\e[00;37m/g
		s/<li\( [^>]*\)\?>/\n \\e[01;34m*\\e[00;37m /g
		s/ *<[^>]\+> */ /g

See this thread for details.

Colors overview

The page at describes the various available color escapes. The following Bash function (put it in your .bashrc!) displays a table with ready-to-copy escape codes.

colors() {
	local fgc bgc vals seq0

	printf "Color escapes are %s\n" '\e[${value};...;${value}m'
	printf "Values 30..37 are \e[33mforeground colors\e[m\n"
	printf "Values 40..47 are \e[43mbackground colors\e[m\n"
	printf "Value  1 gives a  \e[1mbold-faced look\e[m\n\n"

	# foreground colors
	for fgc in {30..37}; do
		# background colors
		for bgc in {40..47}; do
			fgc=${fgc#37} # white
			bgc=${bgc#40} # black


			printf "  %-9s" "${seq0:-(default)}"
			printf " ${seq0}TEXT\e[m"
			printf " \e[${vals:+${vals+$vals;}}1mBOLD\e[m"
		echo; echo

See also

If you want to create a style all your own, you can take a look at these tips.