Friday, March 1, 2024
Google search engine
HomeUncategorizedfish-shell: the user-friendly command-line shell

fish-shell: the user-friendly command-line shell

fish is a smart and user-friendly command line shell for macOS, 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 downloads, screenshots and more, go to

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

Getting fish


fish can be installed:

Note: The minimum supported macOS version is 10.10 “Yosemite”.

Packages for Linux

Packages for Debian, Fedora, openSUSE, and Red Hat Enterprise
Linux/CentOS are available from the openSUSE Build

Packages for Ubuntu are available from the fish
and can be installed using the following commands:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:fish-shell/release-3
sudo apt update
sudo apt install fish

Instructions for other distributions may be found at


  • On Windows 10, fish can be installed under the WSL Windows Subsystem
    for Linux with the instructions for the appropriate distribution
    listed above under “Packages for Linux”, or from source with the
    instructions below.
  • Fish can also be installed on all versions of Windows using
    Cygwin (from the Shells category).

Building from source

If packages are not available for your platform, GPG-signed tarballs are
available from and
fish-shell on
. See the
Building section for instructions.

Running fish

Once installed, run fish from your current shell to try fish out!


Running fish requires:

  • curses or ncurses (preinstalled on most *nix systems)
  • some common *nix system utilities (currently mktemp), in
    addition to the basic POSIX utilities (cat, cut, dirname,
    ls, mkdir, mkfifo, rm, sort, tee, tr,
    uname and sed at least, but the full coreutils plus find and
    awk is preferred)
  • The gettext library, if compiled with
    translation support

The following optional features also have specific requirements:

  • builtin commands that have the --help option or print usage
    messages require nroff or mandoc for
  • automated completion generation from manual pages requires Python 3.5+
  • the fish_config web configuration tool requires Python 3.5+ and a web browser
  • system clipboard integration (with the default Ctrl-V and Ctrl-X
    bindings) require either the xsel, xclip,
    wl-copy/wl-paste or pbcopy/pbpaste utilities
  • full completions for yarn and npm require the
    all-the-package-names NPM module
  • colorls is used, if installed, to add color when running ls on platforms
    that do not have color support (such as OpenBSD)

Switching to fish

If you wish to use fish as your default shell, use the following

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 fish was
installed to, if it differs.) Log out, then log in again for the changes
to take effect.

Use the following command if fish isn’t already added to /etc/shells
to permit fish to be your login shell:

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

To switch your default shell back, you can run chsh -s /bin/bash
(substituting /bin/bash with /bin/tcsh or /bin/zsh as



Compiling fish from a tarball requires:

  • a C++11 compiler (g++ 4.8 or later, or clang 3.3 or later)
  • CMake (version 3.5 or later)
  • a curses implementation such as ncurses (headers and libraries)
  • PCRE2 (headers and libraries) – optional, this will be downloaded if missing
  • gettext (headers and libraries) – optional, for translation support

Sphinx is also optionally required to build the documentation from a
cloned git repository.

Additionally, running the test suite requires Python 3.5+ and the pexpect package.

Dependencies, git master

Building from git master currently requires, in addition to the dependencies for a tarball:

  • Rust (version 1.67 or later)
  • libclang, even if you are compiling with GCC
  • an Internet connection

fish is in the process of being ported to Rust, replacing all C++ code, and as such these dependencies are a bit awkward and in flux.

In general, we would currently not recommend running from git master if you just want to use fish.
Given the nature of the port, what is currently there is mostly a slower and buggier version of the last C++-based release.

Building from source (all platforms) – Makefile generator

To install into /usr/local, run:

mkdir build; cd build
cmake ..
sudo make install

The install directory can be changed using the
-DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX parameter for cmake.

Build options

In addition to the normal CMake build options (like CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX), fish has some other options available to customize it.

  • BUILD_DOCS=ON|OFF – whether to build the documentation. This is automatically set to OFF when Sphinx isn’t installed.
  • INSTALL_DOCS=ON|OFF – whether to install the docs. This is automatically set to on when BUILD_DOCS is or prebuilt documentation is available (like when building in-tree from a tarball).
  • FISH_USE_SYSTEM_PCRE2=ON|OFF – whether to use an installed pcre2. This is normally autodetected.
  • MAC_CODESIGN_ID=String|OFF – the codesign ID to use on Mac, or “OFF” to disable codesigning.
  • WITH_GETTEXT=ON|OFF – whether to build with gettext support for translations.

Note that fish does not support static linking and will attempt to error out if it detects it.

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 install build-essential cmake ncurses-dev libncurses5-dev libpcre2-dev gettext

On RedHat, CentOS, or Amazon EC2:

sudo yum install ncurses-devel

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
. Or use the fish tag
on Unix & Linux Stackexchange
There is also a fish tag on Stackoverflow, but it is typically a poor fit.

Found a bug? Have an awesome idea? Please open an

Read More



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments