With as much as I've been using bash lately, it's weird that it's taken me this long to stumble across a need for searching the command-line history. But it happened today, and it was easy to do, as soon as someone told me how to do it. I had a command I'd run a few times over a week ago, and in the intervening time I'd run thousands of other commands. I could figure out all the parameters to this command if I wanted to, but the Second Rule of Programming states that "Programmers are Lazy," so I was going to find a better way. And it's pretty simple:
Hit CTRL+R at the command prompt, then start typing what you remember of the command. When the one you want shows up, hit Enter to run it or Escape to have a chance to edit it. Simple as that.
I really enjoy using all the *nix operating systems and the power you get in the shell environment. However, the biggest drawback is that using the shell environment is not intuitive like a GUI can be (if designed correctly, of course). Chances are, you can do whatever it is you need to do, because someone else needed to do it first and went and made that possible. But you need to go and learn it yourself, because there's not a whole lot you can divine from a screen blank except for a cryptic '$> ' and a blinking cursor with zero prior knowledge. That's fine by me, as long as such knowledge is as readily available as possible when I need it. I'd much prefer that to a ridiculously complicated ribbon interface with a buttons for so many things that finding the button I need takes longer than asking Google to find it for me. I mean, if I'm Googling anyway, it's easier for me to remember a command name or a keystroke combo than a series of menus or ribbon tabs to drill through. I'd further argue that executing a known command in a shell or a keystroke combo is an O(1) operation, whereas executing a command from a menu or a ribbon interface is O(log(n)), with n being the number of available menu options or ribbon buttons. With few possible commands (like, say, MS Paint), it's not a big deal. With a ton (like, say, MS Word), it can be a nightmare if you need something fairly obscure.