Fish Shell for Mac OS X: A User-Friendly Command Line with Smart Features

This new implementation of Fish makes a joke about the generally antiquated nature of command lines by referring to itself as “a command line shell for the 90s.” However, it actually includes some genuinely helpful and up-to-date features, such as intelligent autosuggestions based on history, autocompletion of commands, a nice default colour palette for syntax highlighting, simple web-based configuration, and more. It’s kind of like zsh on steroids, but it’s prettier and a little bit smarter, if that makes any sense to those of us who are more experienced in the world of shells.

Check out Ridiculous Fish, a branch of the original fish shell on which development ceased quite some time ago, if any of that piques your interest and you’re eager to investigate the fundamentals of Mac OS X and the world of unix in an approachable manner. Fish in OS X can be installed in the most straightforward manner using the package installer; however, the source code is also accessible for users who would rather construct the application from the ground up.

Fish Shell for Mac OS X

  • After setting up Fish, open Terminal and type “fish” to start using the new shell. If you like it, you can change the usual shell to fish with the following command (/bin/bash is the OS X default shell, if you want to go back):
    • chsh -s /usr/local/bin/fish
  • You can see Fish’s most-used aliases and commands by typing fish_config. For example, the ll and la aliases are always popular. But the smart autosuggestions and autocompletions are what make Fish truly magical. They use shell history to guess what you want to do and help you remember even the most obscure commands without having to grep through bash_history.
  • For people who are just starting out, the fish manual page is also very helpful. It gives a good overview of Unix commands and command line tools, and you can get to it by typing:
    • man fish
  • This will open the usual web browser to file://localhost/usr/local/share/doc/fish/index.html, which is a long tutorial on how to use shells in general.


How do I change my shell to fish on my Mac?

Making the switch to fish? You will need to enter your new shell’s executable /usr/local/bin/fish in two different locations if you want to make fish (or any other shell) your default shell. The first location is /etc/shells, and the second location is /usr/local/bin/fish. You can make fish your default shell by using the chsh -s command. fish is located in /usr/local/bin.

Is fish better than Zsh?

Fish places an emphasis on user friendliness and simplicity, in contrast to Zsh, which places an emphasis on expanded customization and advanced functionality. Bash offers stability and widespread support. In the end, putting each of these options to the test and seeing which one speaks to you the most will be the most effective way to identify which one is your chosen shell.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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