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This is zsh version 4.2.3.  This is a stable version.

Installing Zsh

The instructions for compiling zsh are in the file INSTALL.  You should
also check the file MACHINES in the top directory to see if there
are any special instructions for your particular architecture.


Zsh is a shell with lots of features.  For a list of some of these, see the
file FEATURES, and for the latest changes see NEWS.  For more
details, see the documentation.

Possible incompatibilities

Currently the only known incompatibilities between 4.2.0 and later
versions are minor:

Since 4.2.1:

The "test" and "[" builtins now behave more like relevant Unix standards
suggest they should.  Previously they were a simple front-end to the same
tests used by zsh's "[[" syntax.  (The documentation was previously cagey
about what "test" and "[" actually did.)  "[[" has always been the
recommended way of implementing tests within zsh.

In recent versions of zsh, typing the end-of-file (EOF) character
(typically ^D, although this can be altered with the "stty" command)
repeatedly in the line editor printed a warning message, but never exited the
shell.  This was a departure from the traditional behaviour of zsh and
other shells where the shell would exit after 10 EOFs.  The traditional
behaviour has been restored.  Also, binding a user-defined editor command
to the EOF character now suppresses the EOF behaviour inside the line
editor; it is possible to emulate it if desired.

From 4.2.0 to 4.2.1:

IPv6 addresses must be specified in square brackets in the zftp module and
the function system built on top of the zftp module.

Special traps for pseudosignals ZERR, DEBUG and EXIT are no longer executed
inside other traps.  Users may well have assumed this was the case anyway
since the behaviour was not explicity documented.  See the NEWS file for
more detail.

By default, a maximum function depth of 4096 is now compiled into the
shell.  This may be altered during configuration; see `Function depth' in

Some particular differences you may notice between the 4.0 and 4.2 series
of releases:

The bash-compatibility zle functions described in the zshcontrib manual
page have been removed as a more configurable set of editing widgets for
dealing with words have been added.  The following code in .zshrc will set
up for bash-style word handling:
  autoload -U select-word-style
  select-word-style bash

The `=prog' facility for expanding command paths (provided the EQUALS
option is enabled, as it is by default) no longer expands aliases.  It was
felt this feature was underused and confusing.

In 4.0, a literal `/' was quoted in the `src' text of a substitution of the
form `${foo/src/rep}' or ${foo//src/rep} with two backslashes.  This was
documented, but inconsistent with normal quoting conventions and poorly
implemented.  The `/' now requires only one backslash to quote it whether
or not the expression occurs in double quotes.  For example:
  % foo=word/bird
  % print ${foo/\//-} "${foo/\//+}"
  word-bird word+bird
Note also the following workaround which is valid in all versions of the
shell that support this syntax:
  % slash=/
  % foo=word/bird
  % print ${foo/$slash/-} "${foo/$slash/+}"

In 4.0, the -M option to bindkey used the first non-option argument to
specify the keymap, whereas it now uses an argument to the option.  Hence:
  bindkey -M -R keymap a-z self-insert
needs to be rewritten as
  bindkey -M keymap -R a-z self-insert
The following form works in both versions:
  bindkey -R -M keymap a-z self-insert


There are a number of documents about zsh in this distribution:

Doc/Zsh/*.yo	The master source for the zsh documentation is written in
		yodl.  Yodl is a document language written by Karel Kubat.
		It is not required by zsh but but it is a nice program so
		you might want to get it anyway, especially if you are a
		zsh developer.  It can be downloaded from

Doc/zsh*.1	Man pages in nroff format.  These will be installed
		by "make" or "make install".  By default,
		these will be installed in /usr/local/man/man1, although
		you can change this with the --mandir option to configure
		or editing the user configuration section of the top level

Doc/zsh.texi	Everything the man pages have, but in texinfo format.  These
		will be installed by "make" or "make install".
		By default, these will be installed in /usr/local/info,
		although you can change this with the --infodir option to
		configure or editing the user configuration section of the
		top level Makefile.  Version 4.0 or above of the
		Texinfo tools are recommended for processing this file.

Also include in the distribution are:

Doc/	An introduction to zsh in troff format using the ms
		macros.  This document explains many of the features
		that make zsh more equal than other shells.
		Unfortunately this is based on zsh-2.5 so some examples
		may not work without changes but it is still a good

For more information, see the website, as described in the META-FAQ.

If you do not have the necessary tools to process these documents,
PostScript, ASCII, Info and DVI versions are available in the separate
file zsh-doc.tar.gz at the archive sites listed in the META-FAQ.

The distribution also contains a Perl script in Utils/helpfiles which
can be used to extract the descriptions of builtin commands from the
zshbuiltins manual page.  See the comments at the beginning of the
script about its usage.  The files created by this script can be used
by example function run-help located in the subdirectory Functions/Misc to
show information about zsh builtins and run `man' on external commands.
For this the shell variable HELPDIR should point to a directory containing
the files generated by the helpfiles script.  run-help should be
unaliased before loading the run-help function.  After that this function
will be executed by the run-help ZLE function which is by default bound
to ESC-h in emacs mode.


Examples of zsh startup files are located in the subdirectory
StartupFiles.  Examples of zsh functions and scripts are located in
the subdirectory Functions.  Examples of completion control commands
(compctl) are located in the file Misc/compctl-examples.

Zsh FTP Sites, Web Pages, and Mailing Lists

The current list of zsh FTP sites, web pages, and mailing lists can be
found in the META-FAQ.  A copy is included in this distribution and is
available separately at any of the zsh FTP sites.

Common Problems and Frequently Asked Questions

Zsh has a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) maintained by Peter
Stephenson <>.  It covers many common problems encountered
when building, installing, and using zsh.  A copy is included in this
distribution in Etc/FAQ and is available separately at any of the zsh
ftp sites.

Zsh Maintenance and Bug Reports

Zsh is currently maintained by the members of the zsh-workers mailing list
and coordinated by Peter Stephenson <>.  Please send
any feedback and bugs reports to <>.

Reports are most helpful if you can reproduce the bug starting zsh with
the -f option.  This skips the execution of local startup files except
/etc/zshenv.  If a bug occurs only when some options set try to locate
the option which triggers the bug.

There is a script "reporter" in the subdirectory Util which will print out
your current shell environment/setup.  If you cannot reproduce the bug
with "zsh -f", use this script and include the output from sourcing this
file.  This way, the problem you are reporting can be recreated.

The known bugs in zsh are listed in the file Etc/BUGS.  Check this as
well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list before sending a bug
report.  Note that zsh has some features which are not compatible with
sh but these are not bugs.  Most of these incompatibilities go away
when zsh is invoked as sh or ksh (e.g. using a symbolic link).

If you send a bug report to the list and are not a subscriber, please
mention this in your message if you want a response.

If you would like to contribute to the development and maintenance of zsh,
then you should join the zsh-workers mailing list (check the META-FAQ
for info on this).  You should also read the "zsh-development-guide"
located in the subdirectory Util.


The people who have contributed to this software project are listed
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