I have Ubuntu 10.04.4 LTS running on a proxmox OpenVZ container.

I imagine it does not come with history because the up arrow on the command line gives me ^[[A


$ history
-sh: history: not found

But I get this when I trying to install.

$ sudo apt-get install history
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
E: Couldn't find package history

What is the correct package name I need to install to get history working?

2 Answers 2


The history command is a feature of bash. For some reason, Your system might be running dash instead of bash. Perhaps, you need to change your login shell to /bin/bash (should have been the default). Type the below command in terminal:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Then, log out and log in.

If you did not install bash in your system, you can install it by the command:

sudo apt-get install bash

Although, you can use other shell like zsh or tcsh (including history).

  • This worked, although I don't know why. Because I had no history with my user but when I changed to root I had. So could it be two users use different shells?
    – bomben
    Sep 25, 2020 at 9:08

What you are referring to is bash own history, which is typically saved in ~/.bash_history file, and this functionality is embedded into bash itself. No need to install additional packages.

Please have a look at this answer on how to check and enable bash history.

Also, there is a chance that you are not using bash, but some other shell. Use chsh command to change your shell.

  • Thanks it was chsh... had to give it to vine_user for giving me the command line. (+1).
    – capdragon
    Jul 18, 2012 at 17:33

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