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When I connect over ssh to remote hosts everything is just a single font/color. I would like to have colours like I do locally e.g. green for executable and blue for symlinks etc. And such that when I run $ git diff on the ssh host it shows me diff with colours =)

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Is that an Ubuntu server you're connecting to? – Stefano Palazzo Dec 5 '10 at 20:42
@stefano-palazzo: to Debian. – Dima Dec 6 '10 at 0:46
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Hm. since it was xterm on the server, I figured something was wrong with .bashrc

And indeed! --color=auto works only when you are connected to TTY. Changing everything to simply --color in .bashrc and everything is in pretty colours now.

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You should mark this as the answer :) – djeikyb Feb 23 '11 at 2:44
It would help this answer a lot if you said where you put --color=auto. .bashrc on the server? What commands? – rfay Aug 24 '13 at 19:37
Since this is an old question which is still relevant, I just wanted to add that on Ubuntu systems, the default .bashrc has a case statement which defines which terms are allowed color. If you find the "case "$TERM$" in" line in your .bashrc, adding "xterm) color_prompt=yes;;" will also enable color. Also you can uncomment the "force_color_prompt=yes" line to globally enable it always. – Mike E Jul 6 '15 at 17:58

What's the content of your XTERM env variable on the server when you connect to it?

~ > export | grep -i term
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$ export | grep -i term declare -x TERM="xterm" – Dima Dec 6 '10 at 0:36

Seems like colors were already set in ~/.bashrc for me and the issue is that ssh does not use the bashrc file. You can use bashrc in your ssh session by adding the following to ~/.bash_profile:

if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then
      . ~/.bashrc
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I tried changing ~./bashrc settings (both on local and remote server), but it did not seem to work.

Then I noticed that ~/.bashrc of remote server does not even get executed if I connect to it over ssh. So I made ~/.bashrc of remote server to execute by puttinng if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then . ~/.bashrc fi in remote server's ~/.bash_profile. (based on

So this solution did not require changing any ~/bashrc files directly but it did require changing ~/bash_profile file of remote server so that ~/bashrc file of remote server got executed.

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Ubuntu uses .profile and not .bash_profile by default, and the default .profile does source .bashrc. – muru Mar 7 at 22:18
That is correct. But does .profile get executed by default when logging in through ssh? – chris544 Mar 7 at 22:43
Yes. Provided you didn't override it using .bash_profile, bash runs .profile when started as a login shell. And SSH starts bash as a login shell. – muru Mar 7 at 22:44
It is correct that ~/.profile is not read if ~/.bash_profile exists. But doesn't ~/.bash_profile exist on Ubuntu by default? – chris544 Mar 7 at 22:51
See my first comment again. No, it doesn't. Ubuntu uses .profile. – muru Mar 7 at 22:52

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