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🐚 Speedy auto-completing multiplatform zsh and bash configuration


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What I do have are a very particular set of dotfiles, dotfiles I have acquired over a very long career. Dotfiles that make unix less of a nightmare for people like me.


  • colourful prompt, directory listing, man pages and git output
  • 2-line prompt with git status, clock and command syntax highlighting
  • works on macOS, Linux and Cygwin - and with both GNU and BSD core utilities
  • shell history from ↑/↓ keys is from the current shell, ^r is from all (zsh only)
  • stops play and ant from being unruly citizens on macOS


  • git version 1.8 or newer
  • Python 2.6/2.7 and 3.x
  • Homebrew
    macOS Only - This means you need Xcode installed first
  • reattach-to-user-namespace
    macOS Only - Allows lots of things to work better inside tmux
  • zsh-syntax-highlighting Only under zsh - provides syntax highlighting for the zsh prompt
  • ncurses
    If this isn't installed, the clear command is missing
  • Regexp::Common version 2013031301 or newer
    Perl module used for ipgrep and ipls commands. Older versions do not suport IPv6 and will break.
  • DejaVu Sans Mono
    Cygwin Only - I use this font in MinTTY, and it'll fall back to Courier if it's not installed

Supported Shells

  • zsh 4.3 or newer
    This is not a hard requirement, however, this version is the one supplied with macOS 10.8
  • Bash 3.2 or newer
    Sorry, MinGW users

The focus of future updates to these dotfiles will be zsh. At some point, bash support may be removed or reduced, but only once the environments I use consistently have a compatible zsh version available.


Setup involves a few steps specific to each platform, followed by the "all platforms" steps below.


Note: These dotfiles are configured for use with GitHub Strap - forking them to {your-username}/dotfiles will have them automatically set up when you use Strap on your macOS machine!

  • install Xcode
  • install Homebrew
  • brew install reattach-to-user-namespace
  • (if using zsh) brew install zsh-syntax-highlighting
  • (if using bash) brew install bash-completion


Cygwin has limited package management built-in. I recommend downloading apt-cyg which gives you a command-line interface for Cygwin's package manager.

  • apt-cyg install openssh ncurses
  • (if using bash) apt-cyg install bash-completion

All Platforms

After completing the relevant platform-specific section,

  • (if using zsh) install zsh-syntax-highlighting
  • (if using bash) install git-bash-completion
  • cpan Regexp::Common (frustratingly, will require some basic interaction if you haven't set up CPAN before)
  • git clone ~/.dotfiles
  • ~/.dotfiles/
    NOTE: If detects that dependencies are missing, it will notify you and abort.
  • Restart your shell


dotfiles update will fetch the latest changes and install them.

Platform-specific directories


This supports three kinds of platform-specific functionality;

  1. Platform-specific bin directories
  2. Platform-specific ~ includes
  3. Platform-specific zshrc includes

The install script will manage this automatically. You can find these under .dotfiles/platforms.

  • Files in .dotfiles/platforms/{platform}/bin are automatically available in your $PATH.

  • Files in .dotfiles/platforms/{platform}/home are either symlinked (editing ~/{file} updates .dotfiles/platforms/{platform}/file - platform-specific includes are only possible if the file is executable) or concatenated (appended; this allows platform-specific stuff to be added to files which aren't executed).

  • Files in .dotfiles/platforms/{platform}/zsh are loaded by .zshrc (and thus, only when running zsh), in the following order;

    1. path.zsh - settings for $PATH go here
    2. All files except path.zsh and completion.zsh, in alphabetical order - general settings and custom categorisation goes here
    3. completion.zsh - completion settings go here

This setup includes a helper function for this called platformbindir. Running this will;

  • create the platform-specific bin directory if it doesn't already exist
  • output the full location of the platform-specific bin directory

So it's easy to add stuff; you can do stuff like cd `platformbindir` , which navigates straight to the current platform's bin directory.

NOTE: Due to the way this works, it's not possible to update a concatenated file in your home directory and commit it immediately. You will need to make the edit twice for those files.


Additionally, there is provision for such directories usable for all but a certain platform. For example, tmux works anywhere except on Cygwin, so tmux.conf.concat is placed in .dotfiles/platforms/all-but-cygwin/home. It then applies on linux and darwin, but not cygwin.

There are no shortcuts for configuring this, however, it relies on the same $UNAME variable as the above, so if you had a linux directory, the all-but directory is all-but-linux.


These were originally forked from seaofclouds' dotfiles repo, and subsequently heavily modified.
Lots of inspiration (and some shortcuts and functions) taken from these fine people;


🐚 Speedy auto-completing multiplatform zsh and bash configuration







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