The default prompt in the R console merely indicates it’s awaiting input. A single less than sign to signify R has nothing to do and wants you to give it a task. Back in October there was a mild buzz on #Rstats twitter about customising your R prompt after Romain Francois gave a talk at the R Addicts Paris Meetup. As documented in this RTask blog Romain’s prompt informs him of the active git branch and how much memory R is using.