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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


  • Colorize terminal tabs based on SSH connection. Each server automatically gets its own color. (iTerm2, KDE)
  • No need for cd: just type in the directory name on the command prompt to enter into it. Cdable environment variables for fast navigation.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Improved ls output colors
  • 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 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


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.


Ubuntu install commands:

# Note: zsh-devel installs the version 5.0 of zsh shell (latest stable)
sudo apt-get install git-core highlight zsh-devel perl
git clone git:// ~/tools

Test that ZSH starts properly:


Then activat 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 activat zsh for your user by default:

chsh -s /bin/zsh $USER

... or for the other users:

sudo usermod -s /bin/zsh TARGETUSERNAME

OSX (Macports)

Install GNU userland tools using Macports:

sudo port install perl5 coreutils lesspipe findutils highlight grep +with_default_names
git clone git:// ~/tools

Test that ZSH starts properly:


Then you MIGHT want to fix locales for OSX:

# Fix missing locale environment variables on OSX
# XXX: Is this problem with every OSX install or just me?
echo "" > ~/.zsh-local/rc/locales
echo "export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8" >> ~/.zsh-local/rc/locales
echo "export LANG=en_US.UTF-8" >> ~/.zsh-local/rc/locales

Activate zsh for your user account as the default shell:

sudo dscl . -create /Users/YOURUSERNAME UserShell /opt/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.

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




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