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A simple alias ls 'ls --color=tty' line in the .bashrc file should work. I did that and it works fine. But then I use tcsh instead of bash (I edited .tcshrc instead of .bashrc ). I don't see how that would make any difference.
What is your TERM environment set to? if its something like VT100 - a non-colour terminal then you'll never get colour nomatter what options you use! Run env | grep TERM to list it... Just a thought...
Put the line alias ls='ls --color=tty' in .bash_profile instead. That worked when I tried using the bash shell.
Is .bashrc even sourced? I don't usually use bash, but I tried it and it wasn't executing anything from .bashrc.
I put an echo blah line in .bashrc and it didn't show up when I logged in. It showed up fine (and the color alias worked) when I typed source .bashrc after loggin in. It also showed up when I typed bash to run another bash shell inside the original.
The .bash_profile file is sourced for sure, though.