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I would like to create an alias to rm command in order to have a confirmation message after executing this command. So I am creating an alias like this alias rm='rm -i'. But as far as I know this is a temporary alias and it lives until you close the terminal.

As it is explained here to save alias permanently I need to execute ~/.bash_aliases or ~/.bashrc commands in terminal and add my alias there. But when I execute ~/.bashrc I get following error message :

bash: /home/bakhtiyor/.bashrc: Permission denied

When I run ~/.bash_aliases I get another error message like this:

bash: /home/bakhtiyor/.bash_aliases: File or directory doesn't exist.

What is the actual problem and how can I solve it?

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How did you create an alias?? –  karthick87 Dec 15 '10 at 8:05
@karthick87. I have updated my question. –  Bakhtiyor Dec 15 '10 at 8:17

7 Answers 7

up vote 84 down vote accepted

To create an alias permanently add the alias to your .bashrc file

gedit ~/.bashrc

And then add your alias at the bottom.

alt text

Now execute . ~/.bashrc in your terminal (there should be a gap between the . and ~/.bashrc.

Now you can check your alias.

alt text

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He shouldn't need sudo to edit his own .bashrc file. Using ~ ensures he's editing the right one so it's harmless, but not required. –  Nerdfest Dec 15 '10 at 10:48
@ButtleButkus - sadly, some here don't have any concept of other operating systems... –  Wilf Jan 14 '14 at 17:40
@karthick87 you wrote "Now execute . ~/.bashrc in your terminal (there should be a gap between the . and ~/.bashrc.". Why is this step needed? –  Geek Feb 11 '14 at 15:21
what does the first '.' do in . ~/.bashrc ? –  Zen Jul 16 '14 at 4:13
@Geek @Zen "Execute" was not the correct term. The dot is equivalent to source. With . ~/.bashrc, you source your bash. Executing the file would start a child process, execute the commands in this process, then return. All that is done in the child process has no effect on the parent process (the bash from which you executed). Instead, sourcing (with the dot) acts exactly as if you wrote the content of the file in the terminal. This is what you want. .bashrc is sourced everytime you start a bash. If you make changes, they won't apply until you start a new bash or source manually. –  Gauthier Oct 3 '14 at 9:19

There are lot of ways to create alias . The most used ways are :

1) . Add aliases directly in your ~/.bashrc file

For example. append these line to ~/.bashrc file

alias ll='ls -l'
alias rm='rm -i'

Next time when you type rm the rm -i command will be executed.

2). The second method lets you make a separate aliases file, so you won't have to put them in .bashrc, but to a file of your choice. First, edit your ~/.bashrc file and add or uncomment the following lines, if it is not already

if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then
. ~/.bash_aliases

Save it and close the file. After that, all you have to do is create a ~/.bash_aliases file and add your aliases there, with the same format specified in the first method.

Contents of my ~/.bash_aliases file:

aneesh@aneesh-VirtualBox:~$ cat .bash_aliases 
alias cs='cd;ls'
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+1 for using ~/.bash_aliases. –  ændrük Jun 10 '11 at 5:48

The problem is that you are trying to execute a non executable file: You can check this with:

ls -la ~/.bashrc
-rw-r--r-- 1 username username 3596 2010-08-05 17:17 /home/pt001424/.bashrc

Note there is no "x - executable" letter on the first column (file permissions).

Profile files are not executable files, instead of executing them you load them with:

source /home/bakhtiyor/.bashrc


. /home/bakhtiyor/.bashrc
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It sounds to me like your only problem is simply trying to execute .bashrc when it is not executable. But this isn't the correct way to do it; whenever you make a change to this file, you should "execute" it by the command:

source ~/.bashrc

Otherwise, it will simply create a new shell, execute the file in the new shell's environment, then discard that environment when it exits, thereby losing your change. By sourcing the script, it executes within the current shell, so it will remain in effect.

I'm assuming the second error was because bash_aliases does not exist. It is not required, just recommended to keep your changes separate and organized. It is only used if it exists, and you can see the test for it in .bashrc:

if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then
. ~/.bash_aliases

This says that if the file ~/.bash_aliases exists, then run it.

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~/.bash_aliases is better. askubuntu.com/questions/194111/… –  tomByrer Jul 8 '14 at 2:39
echo "alias vps='ssh -X user@example.com'" >> ~/.bashrc

This is an example I was looking for, a way to type a few letters at the terminal ("vps") to remotely log in to a server and enable X11 forwarding so I can run gui apps like "gedit" over the network.

Whatever the command / aliased command, this way with the echo statement, quotation marks, and the symbol for appending the output of a command to a file (>>) works for me. Just replace my command for the alias command you need and enter it into your terminal.

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I've made this little function for quickly writing a new-alias to .bashrc

##------------------------------------ ##
 #           -- new-alias --           #
 # creates new alias & writes to file  #
 #          $1 = alias new             #
 #          $2 = alias definition      #
##------------------------------------ ##
new-alias () { 
  if [ -z "$1" ]; then
    echo "alias name:"
    read NAME

  if [ -z "$2" ]; then
    echo "alias definition:"
    read DEFINTION
    if [ "$2" = "-cd" ]; then
      DEFINTION='cd '

  echo "alias $NAME='$DEFINTION'" >> ~/.bashrc
  . ~/.bashrc
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if you are using ruby, you can use this simple script(which I wrote) to create permanent aliases from terminal:



aka add hello="echo helloworld" #add an alias aka rm hello #remove alias

the script will auto-source your dot file so that you don't need to. Check it out.

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