Things that are worth the bloat #1: zsh

by debianjoe

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GekkoP’s FrameBuffer Build.

zsh included

I blatantly stole GekkoP’s fbcat to try to keep things interesting.  He can yell at me later too.  I guess I should probably start asking if it’s cool if I use their shots before I just rip them off and reuse them…but since he’s using a modified version of my info script, I guess he’ll let me use the shot.

For today, I wanted to point out one of the few things that I started using during the past year that actually sold me on the idea that it would actually make life easier.  zsh, or the Zero Shell, is another of the many possible interactive shells for Unix-based systems, but with really good completion.

One of the things that I’ve come to really love about it is how extensible it is.  By using a few plugins, you can set up “on the fly” syntax highlighting, autojumping to deeply nested directories, recursive blotting, some very interesting themes, etc.

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killx, with zsh controlled via antigen

One of the neatest little helpers for setting up and trying out different plug-ins and extensions for zsh that I have found is antigen.  You can pull it with git via https://github.com/zsh-users/antigen, or just follow the instructions to curl it into a quick test run to see if you like it.  I personally think that it’s a fantastic way to be able to load and unload different setups without spending tons of time editing your .zshrc file.  I really can’t say enough about how handy it is to be able to manage different plug-ins from multiple different authors or to load up an entire pre-packaged framework as simply as “antigen use oh-my-zsh”.

There are so many fantastic resources available that I can’t possibly list them all, but probably the one that I frequent the most is http://grml.org/zsh/ for the “zsh lovers” tips tricks and scripts.  Although grml is really designed for Debian (as it’s a live Debian Linux system), the zsh config if freely available for any zsh capable machines, including a pre-built Archlinux package.

I’m sure that changing shells isn’t for everyone, but if you spend over half of your time at the command line, it’s probably well worth your time to look into.

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