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Probably moving from tcsh to zsh. Bash sucks. //at 02:29 //by abe

from the habits dept.

The grml-T-Shirt, Alfie was wearing at the Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt this weekend reminded me, that I wanted to download a grml-ISO. While looking for the ISO I found a link to the grml zsh Reference Card. Beneath the links to the reference card there were a pointer to zsh-lovers, “a small project which tries to collect tips, tricks and examples for the Z shell.”.

There were a lot of nice tricks mentioned, e.g. redirection to multiple files. So I spawned a zsh and checked for the main feature, which keeps me using tcsh instead of bash: History Tab Completion. And see there: zsh does History Tab Completion. And even nicer: Completion results don’t create a new prompt, but just show up (and vanish again with e.g. ^C) beneath the prompt while the prompt only moves (up) if there’s not enough space for all the possible completions. Some kind of meta-cool is the set of configuration variables starting with CSH_JUNKIE_. Guess, I am such a (t)csh junkie. ;-)

And global aliases seem also a very fine (but also very dangerous) feature. Think of cd ... just doing what you want it to, namely cd ../... As well as the advanced history handling which includes incremental sharing with multiple simultaneous shells. Or the spelling corrections based on keyboard layout.

On the other hand, zsh offers everything from bash I missed in tcsh: ^R and usable loops (mostly while (true); do ...) on the command line. The only thing none of the three shells can is Mind Tab Completion. ;-)

The zsh page from Adam Spiers seems to be good source for informations about the zsh. Another nice collection of zsh tips (which often also work in other shells) was in the links section of the grml zsh page.

Funnily several people tried to convince me to use zsh before, but they just didn’t use the right arguments. :-) So it looks as if I found the right arguments by myself and should really give zsh a try after 10 years of tcsh. Although I already found something less amusing in zsh: echo '\n' and echo "\t" behave both very strange, but I still hope, I find the switch to turn it off…

But my upcoming shell efficiency talk will definitely not only feature bash and tcsh but also zsh.

Now playing: R.E.M. — Losing my religion

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert


This is the blog or weblog of Axel Stefan Beckert (aka abe or XTaran) who thought, he would never start blogging... (He also once thought, that there is no reason to switch to this new ugly Netscape thing because Mosaïc works fine. That was about 1996.) Well, times change...

He was born 1975 at Villingen-Schwenningen, made his Abitur at Schwäbisch Hall, studied Computer Science with minor Biology at University of Saarland at Saarbrücken (Germany) and now lives in Zürich (Switzerland), working at the Network Security Group (NSG) of the Central IT Services (Informatikdienste) at ETH Zurich.

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