FreeBSD: Install zsh Shell

Posted on in Categories last updated July 15, 2012

How do I install the Z shell ( zsh ) shell under FreeBSD 9 operating systems?

The Z shell (zsh) is a Unix shell and command interpreter for shell scripting. Zsh can be thought of as an extended Bourne shell with a large number of improvements, including some features of bash, ksh, and tcsh.

Install zsh under FreeBSD

Type the following command as the root user to install binary zsh package. You can switch to the root user by typing su – and entering the root password, when prompted.
# pkg_add -r zsh
Sample outputs:

Fetching ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/ports/amd64/packages-9.0-release/Latest/zsh.tbz... Done.
Updating /etc/shells

Alternatively, you can use the Freebsd ports:
# cd /usr/ports/shell/zsh
# make install clean

How do I install zsh?

Simply type zsh at the shell prompt:
$ zsh
You will get the following screen:

Unix / Linux zsh First Run Configuration
Fig.01: Configure zsh under FreeBSD

Just follow on-screen instruction to finish zsh configuration.

How do I set zsh as my default shell?

You need to use chsh command to change your default shell under Unix like operating system:
$ chsh -s zsh
OR
$ chsh -s zsh vivek
Sample outputs:
Password:
Make sure zsh is set as a new shell for vivek user:
$ grep vivek /etc/passwd
Sample outputs:

vivek:*:1001:1001:Vivek Gite:/home/vivek:/usr/local/bin/zsh

How do I customize zsh shell?

You need to edit ~/.zshrc file. A sample ~/.zshrc file:
$ cat ~/.zshrc
Sample outputs:

HISTFILE=~/.histfile
HISTSIZE=1000
SAVEHIST=1000
setopt appendhistory autocd extendedglob
unsetopt beep
bindkey -e

Because zsh contains many features, I recommend that you go through the zsh manual page which has been split into a number of sections:
% man zsh

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

2 comment

  1. Note: You have to log out and log back in, in order to start using Zsh as your default shell.

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