About me: My name is Solène Rapenne, pronouns she/her. I like learning and sharing knowledge. Hobbies: '(BSD OpenBSD h+ Lisp cmdline gaming internet-stuff). I love percent and lambda characters. OpenBSD developer solene@.

Contact me: solene on Freenode, solene+www at dataswamp dot org or solene@bsd.network (mastodon). If for some reason you want to give me some money, I accept paypal at the address donate@perso.pw.

Implement a «Command not found» handler in OpenBSD

Written by Solène, on 09 March 2021.
Tags: #openbsd

Comments on Mastodon


On many Linux systems, there is a special program run by the shell (configured by default) that will tell you which package provide a command you tried to run but is not available in $PATH. Let's do the same for OpenBSD!


We will need to install the package pkglocate to find binaries.

# pkg_add pkglocate

We will also need a file /usr/local/bin/command-not-found executable with this content:



RESULT=$(pkglocate */bin/${CMD} */sbin/${CMD} | cut -d ':' -f 1)

if [ -n "$RESULT" ]
    echo "The following package(s) contain program ${CMD}"
    for result in $RESULT
        echo "    - $result"
    echo "pkglocate didn't find a package providing program ${CMD}"


Now, we need to configure the shell to run this command when it detects an error corresponding to an unknown command. This is possible with bash, zsh or fish at least.

Bash configuration

Let's go with bash, add this to your bash configuration file

    /usr/local/bin/command-not-found "$1"

Fish configuration

function fish_command_not_found
    /usr/local/bin/command-not-found $argv[1]

ZSH configuration

function command_not_found_handler()
    /usr/local/bin/command-not-found "$1"

Trying it

Now that you configured your shell correctly, if you run a command in your shell that isn't available in your PATH, you may have either a success with a list of packages giving the command or that the command can't be found in any package (unlucky).

This is a successful output that found the program we were trying to run.

$ pup
The following package(s) contain program pup
    - pup-0.4.0p0

This is a result showing that no package found a program named "steam".

$ steam
pkglocate didn't find a package providing program steam