What’s the most important non-kernel piece of software in UNIX-like OSes? The shell. A good shell.
I’m working with UNIX-like OSes a long time. I wasn’t using a shell all the time, but the black window with a monospace font was seen more often on my screen with time. A black window with bash in it. Are you wondering why? They set it as the default shell. And some users might not bother with changing their settings or testing other shells.
[email protected]:~$ zsh
Are you still using bash? Switch over to zsh and learn why it’s better. Let’s begin with a reason list.
Reason #1. Intelligent Completion
The zsh’s bulit-in completion is the best one ever made. For example, here is how regular bash responds to pacman <Tab><Tab>:
[[email protected] ~]$ pacman Display all XXX possibilities? (y or n)
(The possibilities are all the files and directories in the current working directory.)
And here’s another bash response, this time with bash-completion:
[[email protected] ~]$ pacman - -D -h -Q -R -S -U -V --database --help --query --remove --sync --upgrade --version
That’s much more helpful, but a new user still wouldn’t know what to do.
Are you wondering what zsh did after adding a - before the first <Tab>?
[[email protected] ~]$ pacman -Q -Q -- Query the package database -R -- Remove a package from the system -S -- Synchronize packages -U -- Upgrade a package -V -- Display version and exit -h -- Display usage
(If you will press tab once, it will just show the possibilities. If you will press it once again, it will change to -R.)
Do you want to start the GNOME’s Preferred Applications dialog box from the shell, without using the Tab key? Good luck! The name is gnome-default-applications-properties. That’s 38 characters. THIRTY EIGHT characters. If you will make a typo in bash, you’ll see “command not found”, swear a few times and find the typo yourself. With zsh, instead of searching for typo, you can press <Tab>. In many cases, you’ll see the proper command.
Reason #2. No cd required
- If you will add one line to your zshrc, you’ll be able to skip cd if you want to go to a directory (doesn’t work if there’s something in the $PATH with the same name)::
- setopt autocd
Reason #3. Bulit-in commands
Do you want to use the basic more/less/$PAGER to read a file? Just say <filename and you’re done. Do you need to use FTP? You can use zftp.
Reason #4. bindkeys
Wish to use some keys for special text operations? You can use bindkeys. I’m binding these keystrokes:
bindkey "\e[1~" beginning-of-line # Home bindkey "\e[4~" end-of-line # End bindkey "\e[5~" beginning-of-history # PageUp bindkey "\e[6~" end-of-history # PageDown bindkey "\e[2~" quoted-insert # Ins bindkey "\e[3~" delete-char # Del bindkey "^[OH" beginning-of-line # Home bindkey "^[OF" end-of-line # End bindkey "^[[5~" beginning-of-history # PageUp bindkey "^[[6~" end-of-history # PageDown bindkey "^[[2~" quoted-insert # Ins bindkey "^[[3~" delete-char # Del bindkey "^[[1;5D" backward-word # ^Left bindkey "^[[1;5C" forward-word # ^Right
Do you need help? Choose one of the sources.
#zsh @ freenode
Do you love IRC, like me? Visit #zsh at freenode.
The Z Shell has its very own wiki at <http://zshwiki.org>.
Subscribe to a mailing list: <http://zsh.sourceforge.net/Arc/mlist.html>.
You can find some information at <http://zsh.sourceforge.net/>.
The Man Page aka Because zsh contains many features, the zsh manual has been split into a number of sections
The zsh man page just tells you the most important things and informs you about other sections. If you aren’t sure where to search, try man zshall.
zsh Zsh overview zshroadmap Informal introduction to the manual zshmisc Anything not fitting into the other sections zshexpn Zsh command and parameter expansion zshparam Zsh parameters zshoptions Zsh options zshbuiltins Zsh built-in functions zshzle Zsh command line editing zshcompwid Zsh completion widgets zshcompsys Zsh completion system zshcompctl Zsh completion control zshmodules Zsh loadable modules zshcalsys Zsh built-in calendar functions zshtcpsys Zsh built-in TCP functions zshzftpsys Zsh built-in FTP client zshcontrib Additional zsh functions and utilities zshall Meta-man page containing all of the above