Improve your UNIX command line experience and productivity with ztanesh project: the tools will make your shell more powerful and easier to use.
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Latest commit 92e1132 Jan 31, 2017 @miohtama committed on GitHub Merge pull request #32 from sevenfourk/master
Fixed small typo



Improve your UNIX command line experience and productivity with the the configuration provided by ztanesh project: the tools will make your shell more powerful and easier to use.

The screenshot above shows additional ls coloring. Prompt: top left is active virtualenv etc. development environment, top right is server, time, bottom right is path.

Colorize terminal tabs automatically based on which server you are logged in. No need to preconfigure servers - the color is calculated from the hostname

Oh my ZSH

As of December 14, 2012, an attempt to merge the code with the Oh my zsh code started, due to the enormous amount of plugins readily available for the latter project. The goal is to merge the both projects into something where the startup files could be automatically compiled and catenated for superfast startup as is done for the ztanesh currently, while enabling the drop-in use of Oh my zsh plugins and themes.


Out of the box you will be able to

  • Colorize terminal tabs based on SSH connection. Each server automatically gets its own color. (iTerm2)
  • Automatically update the window title on your terminal based on the currently running command etc.
  • Just type in the directory name on the command prompt to enter into it. Cdable environment variables for fast navigation - instead of cd $MYDIR/project you can now hit in shell prompt MY<TAB>p<TAB>.
  • In-word completions - to cd into that linux-2.6.28 folder, just type 28<TAB> - the only matching word is automatically completed. To go to /usr/bin type in shell prompt /u/b<TAB> (no cd needed).
  • Double-tap TAB for autocompletion menu with arrow navigation. Type ./<TAB> to start file explorer in the current folder. Press space to advance the next folder. Press backspace to undo the selection.
  • Autocompletion for remote server commands like svn, scp
  • Typo correction when autocompleting: wrong case, mispelt character, etc.
  • Improved prompt readability: bold text by default, timestamps, user, server name and smart current working directory indicator
  • Turn on colored output for tools like less and grep automatically
  • Improved ls output colors - including grouping filesizes in groups of 3.
  • Settings files are preprocessed for fast shell start-up
  • Mouse support on command line; press alt-m (meta-m) to toggle mouse mode and enable position text edit cursor with the mouse
  • Forward- and backward moving in directories stack using alt+left/right arrows (Linux only)
  • Support for Mac standard edit keys: alt+arrow to move between words. fn+arrow (home, end) to go to the beginning and end of the line
  • Automatic update via Github. Global (across machines, autoupdated) and local (macine specific) .rc settings files
  • Over ten years of running in production experience
  • Upcoming: intershell clipboard using a pure python X client (you need X forwarding and X11 daemon on an originating computer. Launching local commands from remote commandline over ssh X11 forwarding.


The installation instructions are based on the assumption you checkout Git repository under ~/tools folder in your home directory.

ZSH versions

We recommend using ZSH 5.0 which is the latest stable version. As the writing of this most operating systems ship with older versions, however, Ubuntu 12.10 defaults to ZSH 5.0.


Ubuntu install commands:

cd ~
sudo apt-get install git-core highlight zsh perl
git clone git:// ~/tools

Test that ZSH starts properly:


Then activate zsh for your user by default:

chsh -s /bin/zsh $USER

... or for the other users:

sudo usermod -s /bin/zsh TARGETUSERNAME


Gentoo Linux install commands:

sudo emerge -av git highlight zsh
git clone git:// ~/tools

Test that ZSH starts properly:


Then activate zsh for your user by default:

chsh -s /bin/zsh $USER

... or for the other users:

sudo usermod -s /bin/zsh TARGETUSERNAME


Install GNU userland tools using Macports:

# Note: zsh-devel installs the version 5.0 of zsh shell (latest stable)
sudo port install zsh-devel perl5 coreutils lesspipe findutils highlight grep +with_default_names

Or use Homebrew:

brew install zsh coreutils lesspipe findutils highlight
# Note: you might have to edit the zsh brew formula if it shows "Error: Download failed:"
# brew edit zsh
# then change: url '' => url ''

Clone ztanesh:

git clone git:// ~/tools

Test that ZSH starts properly:


Activate zsh for your user account as the default shell:

sudo dscl . -create /Users/YOURUSERNAME UserShell /opt/local/bin/zsh
# or if you use Homebrew before: sudo dscl . -create /Users/YOURUSERNAME UserShell /usr/local/bin/zsh

Other 'NIX operating systems

Other UNIX flavour operating systems should work just fine. Please adjust the installation commands according to your distribution and report back to us how you did it.

Autoupdate notes

If you want to autoupdate deploy your own global ZSH rc changes fork this repository on Github under your own user account, or set up your own private fork on anywhere you want. The authors are less benevolent dictators (read: BOFHs) of this project and may feel to change the scripts breaking everything for you any day.

But you can also feel free to hack this project into pieces. If you find good patches just make Pull request on Github.


Misc tips

  • See various aliases
  • Use CTRL+R to search shared ZSH history

Editing global settings

ZtaneSH scripts are located in ~/tools/zsh-scripts/rc folder. They are processed pretty much like init.d scripts (loaded in number prefix order).

Edit these source scripts. Then run comprc. This will update ~/tools/zsh-scripts/var/compiled/allrcs file. This file is optimized ZSH script output and loaded on every start up.

Push your changes to Github.

Editing local settings

Put your local settings to ~/.zsh-local/rc and run comprc alias to make them effective for the next zsh startup.



Join us at #ztanesh on

Submitting patches

  1. Press Fork button on Github -> creates your personal ZtaneSH repo on

  2. Checkout your personal repo as ~/tools

    git clone # Your personal repo address

  3. Edit files

  4. Commit changes, push back to your personal repo

    git add -A git commit -m "Why I did this" git push

  5. On your personal Github repo page, press Make pull request button

Related projects


If ZSH does not start up properly (CTRL+C interruption, Git update failure, etc.) you may see the error:

/Users/mikko/.zsh//lib/ztanesh-rcs.zsh:103: command not found:

You can fix this issue by enabling comprc function by hand and run it to rebuild startup files:

source ~/tools/zsh-scripts/rc/65-functions




  • Antti "ztane" Haapala
  • Cleaned up for public release by Mikko Ohtamaa
  • mouse.zsh: Stephane Chazelas
  • Gentoo: Alberto Zuin