$PS1 does not render command-line prompt in color in a FreeBSD VM

James E Keenan jkeen at verizon.net
Tue Oct 18 21:50:20 UTC 2016

On 10/12/2016 01:24 PM, Dutch Ingraham wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 01:09:50PM -0400, James E Keenan wrote:
>> On 10/12/2016 12:16 PM, Roger Pate wrote:
>>> On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 9:56 PM, James E Keenan <jkeen at verizon.net> wrote:
>>>> This question concerns display of colors in the command-line prompt on two
>>>> different FreeBSD installations.
>>>> ... which in the terminal looks like:
>>>> [jkeenan] $
>>>> where 'jkeenan' is in red and all the rest is in white.  So far so good.
>>>> Yesterday I installed FreeBSD-11 as a VM on the same Linux host -- only this
>>>> time I switched to using VMWare to house the VM.  I brought over my
>>>> .profile, .shrc, .vimrc, etc., files from the 10.3 VM to this new one. I
>>>> expected them to Just Work.  However the terminal inside the VMWare console
>>>> seems to be unable to digest the codes for color in the assignment to $PS1.
>>>> That value for $PS1 is rendering as:
>>>> [[31mjkeenan[0m] $
>>>> ... all rendered in white; nothing in red.  The control sequences to change
>>>> from white to red and back again are simply being literally displayed.
>>> How did you "bring over" your files from one VM to the other?  Did
>>> your escape characters get stripped?  If they did, that would explain
>>> what you see.
>> The files were wrapped in a tarball and scp-ed.  The control characters in
>> the assignment to PS1 did not get stripped.  I examined them via 'od -c' on
>> each VM and the control character 033 is present where expected in both
>> cases.
> Just to confirm it has nothing to do with the transfer of the config files or
> the VM, I have a similar $PS1 scheme, also using sh as my shell, and have the
> same problem after upgrading from 10.3 to 11; this all on bare metal upgraded
> in-place, no file transfers needed.
> I haven't had time to debug yet, just wanted to get this out there to confirm
> this is not a local issue.

It clearly is a bug and has been reported here:


I've entered a comment in that bug ticket to the effect that this is a 
regression with respect to user-friendliness.  If you share that 
opinion, please feel free to enter a comment there.

Thank you very much.
Jim Keenan

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