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IPython (at least the version we use) isn't really designed for this sort of customization, but there is a hack to make it behave this way. If you run the following commands (or put them in your ~/.sage/init.sage file), it should behave exactly how you want.

import IPython.OInspect = specialize(screen_lines=0.5r)(

specialize is a decorator which causes a default value of screen_lines=0.5 to be passed on to the real page function. Basically what this does is tell IPython that the number of lines in your screen is greater than 0 (so it doesn't try to autodetect it, the default case) and less than any number of lines that would be displayed.