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Elvish: Expressive Programming Language + Versatile Interactive Shell

CI status FreeBSD & gccgo test status Test Coverage Go Reference Packaging status Twitter

Elvish is a powerful scripting language and a versatile interactive shell. It runs on Linux, macOS, BSDs and Windows.

Elvish is pre-1.0. This means that the features set will change between versions, but it's quite stable for both scripting and interactive use.

User groups (all connected thanks to Matrix):

Telegram Group Discord server #elvish on Gitter


Documentation for Elvish lives on the official website, including:

The source for the documentation is in the website directory.


All source files use the BSD 2-clause license (see LICENSE), except for the following:

Building Elvish

Most users do not need to build Elvish from source. Prebuilt binaries for the latest commit are provided for Linux amd64, macOS amd64, macOS arm64, Windows amd64 and many other platforms.

To build Elvish from source, you need

  • A supported OS: Linux, {Free,Net,Open}BSD, macOS, or Windows 10. Windows 10 support is experimental.

  • Go >= 1.21.0.

To build Elvish from source, run one of the following commands:

go install # Install latest commit
go install # Install latest released version
go install # Install a specific version

Controlling the installation location

The go install command installs Elvish to $GOBIN; the binary name is elvish. You can control the installation location by overriding $GOBIN, for example by prepending env GOBIN=... to the go install command.

If $GOBIN is not set, the installation location defaults to $GOPATH/bin, which in turn defaults to ~/go/bin if $GOPATH is also not set.

The installation directory is probably not in your OS's default $PATH. You should either either add it to $PATH, or manually copy the Elvish binary to a directory already in $PATH.

Building a variant

Elvish has several build variants with slightly different feature sets. For example, the withpprof build variant has profiling support.

These build variants are just alternative main packages. For example, to build the withpprof variant, run the following command (change the part after @ to get different versions):

go install

Building from a local source tree

If you are modifying Elvish's source code, you will want to clone Elvish's Git repository and build Elvish from the local source tree instead. To do this, run the following from the root of the source tree:

go install ./cmd/elvish

There is no need to specify a version like @master; when inside a source tree, go install will always use the whatever source code is present.

See for more notes for contributors.

Building with experimental plugin support

Elvish has experimental support for building and importing plugins, modules written in Go. It relies on Go's plugin support, which is only available on a few platforms.

Plugin support requires building Elvish with cgo. The official prebuilt binaries are built without cgo for compatibility and reproducibility, but by default the Go toolchain builds with cgo enabled.

If you have built Elvish from source on a platform with plugin support, your Elvish build probably already supports plugins. To force cgo to be used when building Elvish, you can do the following:

env CGO_ENABLED=1 go install ./cmd/elvish

To build a plugin, see this example.

Packaging Elvish

See for notes for packagers.

Contributing to Elvish

See for notes for contributors.

Reporting security issues

See for how to report security issues.