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fish-shell / fish-shell


The user-friendly command line shell.


fish - the friendly interactive shell Build Status

fish is a smart and user-friendly command line shell for OS X, 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 more on fish's design philosophy, see the design document.

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


fish is written in a sane subset of C++98, with a few components from C++TR1. It builds successfully with g++ 4.2 or later, and with clang. It also will build as C++11.

fish can be built using autotools or Xcode. autoconf 2.60 or later is required.

fish depends on a curses implementation, such as ncurses. The headers and libraries are required for building.

fish requires gettext for translation support.

Building the documentation requires Doxygen 1.8.7 or newer.

Autotools Build

make [gmake on BSD]
sudo make install

Xcode Development Build

  • Build the base target in Xcode
  • Run the fish executable, for example, in DerivedData/fish/Build/Products/Debug/base/bin/fish

Xcode Build and Install

xcodebuild install
sudo ditto /tmp/fish.dst /

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-get install build-essential ncurses-dev libncurses5-dev gettext

On RedHat, CentOS, or Amazon EC2:

sudo yum install ncurses-devel

Runtime Dependencies

fish requires a curses implementation, such as ncurses, to run.

fish requires a number of utilities to operate, which should be present on any Unix, GNU/Linux or OS X system. These include (but are not limited to) hostname, grep, awk, sed, which, and getopt. fish also requires the bc program.

Translation support requires the gettext program.

Some optional features of fish, such as the manual page completion parser and the web configuration tool, require Python.

In order to generate completions from man pages compressed with either lzma or xz, you may need to install an extra Python package. Python versions prior to 2.6 are not supported. For Python versions 2.6 to 3.2 you need to install the module backports.lzma. How to install it depends on your system and how you installed Python. Most Linux distributions should include it as a package named backports-lzma (or similar). From version 3.3 onwards, Python already includes the required module.

Packages for Linux

Instructions on how to find builds for several Linux distros are at

Switching to fish

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

chsh -s /usr/local/bin/fish

chsh will prompt you for your password, and change your default shell.

To switch your default shell back, you can run:

chsh -s /bin/bash

Substitute /bin/bash with /bin/tcsh or /bin/zsh as appropriate.

Contact Us

Questions, comments, rants and raves can be posted to the official fish mailing list at or join us on our IRC channel #fish at

Found a bug? Have an awesome idea? Please open an issue on this github page.