The user-friendly command line shell.
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.github Update issue template Sep 6, 2016
build_tools do not restyle all fish scripts Oct 5, 2016
debian debian packaging: unbreak build Oct 2, 2016
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etc It's `status --is-interactive` (#3086) May 29, 2016
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pcre2-10.21 Let git normalize line-endings upon commit (LF) Aug 1, 2016
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src lint: remove another "too few branches in switch statement" Oct 23, 2016
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.clang-format config clang-format to ignore oclint pragmas May 5, 2016
.cppcheck.rule implement custom cppcheck rules Jun 18, 2016
.editorconfig Added .editorconfig file (#3332) (#3313) Aug 25, 2016
.gitattributes .gitignore additions & fixes Aug 11, 2016
.gitignore .gitignore additions & fixes Aug 11, 2016
.oclint lint: deal with "double negative" warnings Oct 21, 2016
.travis.yml Travis: move ASan back to Linux for full features Oct 16, 2016 CHANGELOG: some grammar changes Oct 18, 2016 implement custom cppcheck rules Jun 18, 2016
COPYING Move LICENSE to COPYING and update text. Oct 24, 2014
Dockerfile math requires bc package Jan 22, 2015
Doxyfile Improve comments, update Doxyfile Jun 12, 2016 Silence the Makefile build Jul 31, 2016
Doxyfile.user Silence the Makefile build Jul 31, 2016 Re-fix 'fix lexicon_filter verbosity' Oct 23, 2016 Nobody really "needs" backports.lzma Aug 19, 2016
config.guess Update to latest config.sub and config.guess versions May 28, 2015
config.sub Update to latest config.sub and config.guess versions May 28, 2015 Fix building on Android by avoiding getpwent() (#3441) Oct 16, 2016 Rename "snippets" to "conf" internally, and document them as snippets Apr 6, 2016 fish.spec: hostname dependency for openSUSE Apr 28, 2016
install-sh Update install-sh Sep 9, 2016 Fix documentation Jul 17, 2016

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 can be built using a C++11 environment but only requires C++03. It builds successfully with g++ 4.2 or later, and with clang. This allows fish to run on older systems such as OS X Snow Leopard (released in 2009).

Fish can be built using autotools or Xcode. autoconf 2.60 or later is required to build from git versions, but is not required for releases.

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

fish requires PCRE2 due to the regular expression support contained in the string builtin. A copy is included with the source code, and will be used automatically if it does not already exist on your system.

fish requires gettext for translation support.

Building the documentation requires Doxygen 1.8.7 or newer.

Autotools Build

autoconf [if building from Git]
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 PCRE2 due to the regular expression support contained in the string builtin. A bundled version will be compiled in automatically at build time if required.

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.

Usage output for builtin functions is generated on-demand from the installed manpages using nroff and ul.

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. To process lzma-compresed manpages, backports.lzma is needed for Python 3.2 or older. 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.

Use the following command if you didn't already add your fish path to /etc/shells.

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

To switch your default shell back, you can run:

chsh -s /bin/bash

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

You may need to logout/login for the change (chsh) to take effect.

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 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.