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This switches the flag_to_function from a map to just an ordinary switch
statement. This saves some memory/startup time and removes some
relocations. No functional change here.


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fish - the friendly interactive shell Build Status

fish is a smart and user-friendly command line shell for macOS, 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

Getting fish


fish can be installed:

Note: The minimum supported macOS version is 10.10 "Yosemite".

Packages for Linux

Packages for Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux/CentOS are available from the openSUSE Build Service.

Packages for Ubuntu are available from the fish PPA, and can be installed using the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:fish-shell/release-3
sudo apt update
sudo apt install fish

Instructions for other distributions may be found at


  • On Windows 10, fish can be installed under the WSL Windows Subsystem for Linux with the instructions for the appropriate distribution listed above under “Packages for Linux”, or from source with the instructions below.
  • Fish can also be installed on all versions of Windows using Cygwin (from the Shells category).

Building from source

If packages are not available for your platform, GPG-signed tarballs are available from and fish-shell on GitHub. See the Building section for instructions.

Running fish

Once installed, run fish from your current shell to try fish out!


Running fish requires:

  • curses or ncurses (preinstalled on most *nix systems)
  • some common *nix system utilities (currently mktemp), in addition to the basic POSIX utilities (cat, cut, dirname, ls, mkdir, mkfifo, rm, sort, tee, tr, uname and sed at least, but the full coreutils plus find and awk is preferred)
  • The gettext library, if compiled with translation support

The following optional features also have specific requirements:

  • builtin commands that have the --help option or print usage messages require nroff or mandoc for display
  • automated completion generation from manual pages requires Python 3.5+
  • the fish_config web configuration tool requires Python 3.5+ and a web browser
  • system clipboard integration (with the default Ctrl-V and Ctrl-X bindings) require either the xsel, xclip, wl-copy/wl-paste or pbcopy/pbpaste utilities
  • full completions for yarn and npm require the all-the-package-names NPM module
  • colorls is used, if installed, to add color when running ls on platforms that do not have color support (such as OpenBSD)

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 fish was installed to, if it differs.) Log out, then log in again for the changes to take effect.

Use the following command if fish isn’t already added to /etc/shells to permit fish to be your login shell:

echo /usr/local/bin/fish | sudo tee -a /etc/shells

To switch your default shell back, you can run chsh -s /bin/bash (substituting /bin/bash with /bin/tcsh or /bin/zsh as appropriate).



Compiling fish requires:

  • a C++11 compiler (g++ 4.8 or later, or clang 3.3 or later)
  • CMake (version 3.5 or later)
  • a curses implementation such as ncurses (headers and libraries)
  • PCRE2 (headers and libraries) - optional, this will be downloaded if missing
  • gettext (headers and libraries) - optional, for translation support

Sphinx is also optionally required to build the documentation from a cloned git repository.

Additionally, running the test suite requires Python 3.5+ and the pexpect package.

Building from source (all platforms) - Makefile generator

To install into /usr/local, run:

mkdir build; cd build
cmake ..
sudo make install

The install directory can be changed using the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX parameter for cmake.

Building from source (macOS) - Xcode

Note: The minimum supported macOS version is 10.10 "Yosemite".

mkdir build; cd build
cmake .. -G Xcode

An Xcode project will now be available in the build subdirectory. You can open it with Xcode, or run the following to build and install in /usr/local:

xcodebuild -scheme install

The install directory can be changed using the -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX parameter for cmake.

Build options

In addition to the normal cmake build options (like CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX), fish has some other options available to customize it.

  • BUILD_DOCS=ON|OFF - whether to build the documentation. This is automatically set to OFF when sphinx isn't installed.
  • INSTALL_DOCS=ON|OFF - whether to install the docs. This is automatically set to on when BUILD_DOCS is or prebuilt documentation is available (like when building in-tree from a tarball).
  • FISH_USE_SYSTEM_PCRE2=ON|OFF - whether to use an installed pcre2. This is normally autodetected.
  • MAC_CODESIGN_ID=String|OFF - the codesign ID to use on Mac, or "OFF" to disable codesigning.
  • WITH_GETTEXT=ON|OFF - whether to build with gettext support for translations.

Note that fish does not support static linking and will attempt to error out if it detects it.

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 install build-essential cmake ncurses-dev libncurses5-dev libpcre2-dev gettext

On RedHat, CentOS, or Amazon EC2:

sudo yum install ncurses-devel

Contributing Changes to the Code

See the Guide for Developers.

Contact Us

Questions, comments, rants and raves can be posted to the official fish mailing list at or join us on our channel. Or use the fish tag on Unix & Linux Stackexchange. There is also a fish tag on Stackoverflow, but it is typically a poor fit.

Found a bug? Have an awesome idea? Please open an issue.