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Latest commit bc9e3c7 Andy Lutomirski committed with ridiculousfish fish_tests: Explicitly cast -2 to wchar_t
On arm, wchar_t is unsigned, and C++11 and newer disallow implicit
narrowing conversions inside braces.  Use an explicit conversion to
fix the build on GCC 6 and up, which defaults to C++11.
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build_tools Generate version numbers for Xcode builds
debian death of mimedb: remove mimedb from the tree
doc_src Simplify escape character documentation in doc_src/bind.txt
etc Stomp exit status of initialization scripts so that fish starts out w…
fish.xcodeproj Update Xcode project settings
osx Update osx/config.h for new ifdefs
pcre2-10.20 Merge new string builtin
po Add missing newline to swedish translation
share Improve __fish_print_service_names
src fish_tests: Explicitly cast -2 to wchar_t
tests Update bind.expect for travis-CI
.gitattributes re-add to source treee
.gitignore Add DerivedData directory to .gitignore
.travis.yml travis: add OS X build, add AddressSanitizer build, stop building docs Rename to, so GitHub would notice it.
COPYING Move LICENSE to COPYING and update text.
Dockerfile math requires bc package
Doxyfile death of mimedb: remove mimedb from the tree Remove CLANG options, for portability
Doxyfile.user Remove CLANG options, for portability Fix key_reader make target. Remove autoconf and lexicon_filter instructions from OS X build
config.guess Update to latest config.sub and config.guess versions
config.sub Update to latest config.sub and config.guess versions detect and provide fallback for backtrace_symbols_fd Add the file that generated the wajig completions to the tree. This s… fish.pc: add pkgconfig file for fish re-add to source treee
install-sh Update to newer install-sh version fix several build warnings
release_notes.html Release notes for fish 2.0

fish - the friendly interactive shell Build Status

fish is a smart and user-friendly command line shell for OS X, Linux, and the rest of the family. fish includes features like syntax highlighting, autosuggest-as-you-type, and fancy tab completions that just work, with no configuration required.

For more on fish's design philosophy, see the design document.

Quick Start

fish generally works like other shells, like bash or zsh. A few important differences can be found at by searching for the magic phrase "unlike other shells".

Detailed user documentation is available by running help within fish, and also at


fish is written in a sane subset of C++98, with a few components from C++TR1. It builds successfully with g++ 4.2 or later, and with clang. It also will build as C++11.

fish can be built using autotools or Xcode. autoconf 2.60 or later is required.

fish depends on a curses implementation, such as ncurses. The headers and libraries are required for building.

fish requires gettext for translation support.

Building the documentation requires Doxygen 1.8.7 or newer.

Autotools Build

make [gmake on BSD]
sudo make install

Xcode Development Build

  • Build the base target in Xcode
  • Run the fish executable, for example, in DerivedData/fish/Build/Products/Debug/base/bin/fish

Xcode Build and Install

xcodebuild install
sudo ditto /tmp/fish.dst /

Help, it didn't build!

If fish reports that it could not find curses, try installing a curses development package and build again.

On Debian or Ubuntu you want:

sudo apt-get install build-essential ncurses-dev libncurses5-dev gettext autoconf

On RedHat, CentOS, or Amazon EC2:

sudo yum install ncurses-devel

Runtime Dependencies

fish requires a curses implementation, such as ncurses, to run.

fish requires a number of utilities to operate, which should be present on any Unix, GNU/Linux or OS X system. These include (but are not limited to) hostname, grep, awk, sed, which, and getopt. fish also requires the bc program.

Translation support requires the gettext program.

Some optional features of fish, such as the manual page completion parser and the web configuration tool, require Python.

In order to generate completions from man pages compressed with either lzma or xz, you may need to install an extra Python package. Python versions prior to 2.6 are not supported. For Python versions 2.6 to 3.2 you need to install the module backports.lzma. How to install it depends on your system and how you installed Python. Most Linux distributions should include it as a package named backports-lzma (or similar). From version 3.3 onwards, Python already includes the required module.

Packages for Linux

Instructions on how to find builds for several Linux distros are at

Switching to fish

If you wish to use fish as your default shell, use the following command:

chsh -s /usr/local/bin/fish

chsh will prompt you for your password, and change your default shell. Substitute "/usr/local/bin/fish" with whatever path to fish is in your /etc/shells file.

To switch your default shell back, you can run:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Substitute /bin/bash with /bin/tcsh or /bin/zsh as appropriate.

Contact Us

Questions, comments, rants and raves can be posted to the official fish mailing list at or join us on our channel or IRC channel #fish at Or use the fish tag on Stackoverflow.

Found a bug? Have an awesome idea? Please open an issue on this github page.

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