The default prompt for bash on Mac OS X is wrong, err, different. I spend a lot of time on linux servers through terminal and like to keep things consistent. Append this to your ~/.bash_profile: to keep things in line with Red Hat:

export PS1="[\u@h \W]\$ "

If you want to get more original, here is a list of codes you can use instead:

  • 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
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