Archiving command history in Linux

 umask 077
 linecount=$(wc -l < ~/.bash_history)
 if (($linecount > $max_lines)); then
         prune_lines=$(($linecount - $max_lines))
         head -$prune_lines ~/.bash_history >> ~/.bash_history.archive \
                && sed -e "1,${prune_lines}d"  ~/.bash_history > ~/.bash_history.tmp$$ \
                && mv ~/.bash_history.tmp$$ ~/.bash_history

via BashFAQ/088 – Greg’s Wiki.

I needed to manage shell command history in a formal fashion in order to turn repeated sequences into scripts without having to type them in again.  I also wanted a  record of packages installed and in what order.   The history of commands is contained in .bash_history file which is read once when a terminal opens.   Running set -o vi allows for history commands to be recalled using standard vi commands.  The above script can be run as a user level cron job to periodically prune the top so many commands and place them into an archive.

The bash statements below set history size and make it so a command will be written to the history file immediately and not simply when a terminal closes.   These should be placed in .bashrc or whatever file executes when a new terminal opens.

PROMPT_COMMAND="history -a"

shopt -s histappend