help / color / mirror / code / Atom feed
From: Peter Stephenson <pws@pwstephenson.fsnet.co.uk>
To: zsh-announce@sunsite.auc.dk
Subject: Z-Shell (zsh) FAQ changes this month
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 22:52:02 +0000	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <E11sZdw-0006co-00.1999-11-29-22-51-40@mail15.svr.pol.co.uk> (raw)

This file contains general information on how to find out about zsh,
(the first part of the FAQ up to item 1.1), then any other items which
have changed since last month's posting, then the differences in the
yodl version of the FAQ.  If you would like a complete individual
copy, email me and I will add you to the list.

[ Every time I try sunsite.auc.dk it's down, so I'm posting
  this without having yet updated the CVS and WWW versions --- pws ]

Changes since issue posted September 1999:

1.5  Latest production version is 3.0.7.

This document contains a list of frequently-asked (or otherwise
significant) questions concerning the Z-shell, a command interpreter
for many UNIX systems which is freely available to anyone with FTP
access.  Zsh is among the most powerful freely available Bourne-like
shell for interactive use.

If you have never heard of `sh', `csh' or `ksh', then you are
probably better off to start by reading a general introduction to UNIX
rather than this document.

If you just want to know how to get your hands on the latest version,
skip to question 1.6; if you want to know what to do with
insoluble problems, go to 5.2.

Notation: Quotes `like this' are ordinary textual quotation
marks.  Other uses of quotation marks are input to the shell.

Chapter 1:  Introducing zsh and how to install it
1.1. Sources of information
1.2. What is it?
1.3. What is it good at?
1.4. On what machines will it run?  (Plus important compilation notes)
1.5. What's the latest version?
1.6. Where do I get it?
1.7. I don't have root access: how do I make zsh my login shell?

Chapter 2:  How does zsh differ from...?
2.1. sh and ksh?
2.2. csh?
2.3. Why do my csh aliases not work?  (Plus other alias pitfalls.)
2.4. tcsh?
2.5. bash?
2.6. Shouldn't zsh be more/less like ksh/(t)csh?

Chapter 3:  How to get various things to work
3.1. Why does `$var' where `var="foo bar"' not do what I expect?
3.2. In which startup file do I put...?
3.3. What is the difference between `export' and the ALL_EXPORT option?
3.4. How do I turn off spelling correction/globbing for a single command?
3.5. How do I get the meta key to work on my xterm?
3.6. How do I automatically display the directory in my xterm title bar?
3.7. How do I make the completion list use eight bit characters?
3.8. Why do the cursor (arrow) keys not work?
3.9. Why does my terminal act funny in some way?
3.10. Why does zsh not work in an Emacs shell mode any more?
3.11. Why do my autoloaded functions not autoload [the first time]?
3.12. How does base arithmetic work?
3.13. How do I get a newline in my prompt?
3.14. Why does `bindkey ^a command-name' or 'stty intr ^-' do something funny?
3.15. Why can't I bind \C-s and \C-q any more?
3.16. How do I execute command `foo' within function `foo'?
3.17. Why do history substitutions with single bangs do something funny?
3.18. Why does zsh kill off all my background jobs when I logout?
3.19. How do I list all my history entries?
3.20. How does the alternative loop syntax, e.g. `while {...} {...}' work?
3.21. Why is my history not being saved?
3.22. How do I get a variable's value to be evaluated as another variable?
3.23. How do I prevent the prompt overwriting output when there is no newline?
3.24. What's wrong with cut and paste on my xterm?

Chapter 4:  The mysteries of completion
4.1. What is completion?
4.2. What sorts of things can be completed?
4.3. How does zsh deal with ambiguous completions?
4.4. How do I complete in the middle of words / just what's before the cursor?
4.5. How do I get started with programmable completion?
4.6. And if programmable completion isn't good enough?

Chapter 5:  The future of zsh
5.1. What bugs are currently known and unfixed? (Plus recent important changes)
5.2. Where do I report bugs, get more info / who's working on zsh?
5.3. What's on the wish-list?
5.4. Will zsh have problems in the year 2000?


--- End of Contents ---

Chapter 1: Introducing zsh and how to install it

1.1: Sources of information

  Information on zsh is available via the World Wide Web.  The URL
  is http://sunsite.auc.dk/zsh/ (note the change of address from the
  end of April 1998).  The server provides this FAQ and much else and is
  now maintained by Karsten Thygesen and others (mail zsh@sunsite.auc.dk
  with any related messages).  The FAQ is at http://sunsite.auc.dk/zsh/FAQ/ .
  The site also contains some contributed zsh scripts and functions;
  we are delighted to add more, or simply links to your own collection.

  This document was originally written in YODL, allowing it to be converted
  easily into various other formats.  The master source file lives at
  http://sunsite.auc.dk/zsh/FAQ/zshfaq.yo and the plain text version
  can be found at http://sunsite.auc.dk/zsh/FAQ/zshfaq.txt .

  Another useful source of information is the collection of FAQ articles
  posted frequently to the Usenet news groups comp.unix.questions,
  comp.unix.shells and comp.answers with answers to general questions
  about UNIX.  The fifth of the seven articles deals with shells,
  including zsh, with a brief description of differences.  There is
  also a separate FAQ on shell differences and how to change your
  shell.  Usenet FAQs are available via FTP from rtfm.mit.edu and
  mirrors and also on the World Wide Web; see

    USA         http://www.cis.ohio-state.edu/hypertext/faq/usenet/top.html
    UK          http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/comp.unix.shell.html
    Netherlands http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/unix-faq/shell/.html

  You can also get it via email by emailing mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu
  with, in the body of the message, `send faqs/unix-faq/shell/zsh'.

  The latest version of this FAQ is also available directly from any
  of the zsh archive sites listed in question 1.6.

  There is now a preliminary version of a reference card for
  zsh 3.0, which you can find (while it's being developed) at
  This is optimised for A4 paper. The LaTeX source is in the
  same place with the extension .tex.  It is not a good place
  from which to learn zsh for the first time.

  (As a method of reading the following in Emacs, you can type \M-2
  \C-x $ to make all the indented text vanish, then \M-0 \C-x $
  when you are on the title you want.)

  For any more eclectic information, you should contact the mailing
  list:  see question 5.2.

--- End of general information, changed items follow in full ---

1.5: What's the latest version?

  Zsh 3.0.7 is the latest production version. The new major number 3.0
  largely reflects the considerable internal changes in zsh to make it more
  reliable, consistent and (where possible) compatible.  Those planning on
  upgrading their zsh installation should take a look at the list of
  incompatibilities at the end of 5.1.  This is longer than usual
  due to enhanced sh, ksh and POSIX compatibility.

  The beta version 3.1.6 is also available.  Development of zsh is usually
  patch by patch, with each intermediate version publicly available.  Note
  that this `open' development system does mean bugs are sometimes
  introduced into the most recent archived version.  These are usually
  fixed quickly.

  Note also that as the shell changes, it may become incompatible with
  older versions; see the end of question 5.1 for a partial list.
  Changes of this kind are almost always forced by an awkward or
  unnecessary feature in the original design (as perceived by current
  users), or to enhance compatibility with other Bourne shell
  derivatives, or (most recently) to provide POSIX compliancy.

--- End of changed items, diff from previous version follows ---
--- zshfaq.yo.old	Fri Nov 26 20:40:02 1999
+++ zshfaq.yo	Mon Nov 29 22:50:07 1999
@@ -31,10 +31,10 @@
 COMMENT(-- myeit is like eit but fancier text formatting --)\
-    whentxt(USECOUNTER(XXenumcounter)CHAR(41)))\
+    whentxt(eit()CHAR(41)))\
-    whentxt(USECOUNTER(XXenumcounter).))\
+    whentxt(.))\
 COMMENT(-- don't want headers for text, USENET headers must come first --)\
@@ -43,26 +43,20 @@
-myreport(Z-Shell Frequently-Asked Questions)(Peter Stephenson)(1999/05/24)
+myreport(Z-Shell Frequently-Asked Questions)(Peter Stephenson)(1999/11/26)
 COMMENT(-- the following are for Usenet and must appear first)\
 mydit(Archive-Name:) unix-faq/shell/zsh
-mydit(Last-Modified:) 1999/09/27
+mydit(Last-Modified:) 1999/11/26
 mydit(Submitted-By:) email(pws@ibmth.df.unipi.it (Peter Stephenson))
-mydit(Version:) $Id: zshfaq.yo,v 1.46 1999/09/27 12:32:00 pws Exp $
+mydit(Version:) <Not yet updated due to archive problems>
 mydit(Posting-Frequency:) Monthly
 mydit(Copyright:) (C) P.W. Stephenson, 1995--1999 (see end of document)
-bf(Changes since issue posted July 1999:)
+bf(Changes since issue posted September 1999:)
-mydit(1.4)  Don't even mention version 2.5
-mydit(1.6)  FTP site changes
-mydit(2.3)  $*:q does work, at least in 3.1.6
-mydit(3.12) Don't mention old tt($[...]) format any more
-mydit(4)    Briefly mention new 3.1.6 completion
-mydit(5.1)  Mention old bindings for history-search have been restored
-     along with behaviour.
+mydit(1.5)  Latest production version is 3.0.7.
 This document contains a list of frequently-asked (or otherwise
@@ -301,7 +295,7 @@
 sect(What's the latest version?)
-  Zsh 3.0.6 is the latest production version. The new major number 3.0
+  Zsh 3.0.7 is the latest production version. The new major number 3.0
   largely reflects the considerable internal changes in zsh to make it more
   reliable, consistent and (where possible) compatible.  Those planning on
   upgrading their zsh installation should take a look at the list of
@@ -758,7 +752,6 @@
   Here is Bart Schaefer's guide to converting csh aliases for zsh.
-  SETCOUNTER(XXenumcounter)(0)
   myeit() If the csh alias references "parameters" (tt(\!:1), tt(\!*) etc.),
      then in zsh you need a function (referencing tt($1), tt($*) etc.).
@@ -1064,7 +1057,6 @@
   This may seem a useful shorthand, but in practice it can have
   unhelpful side effects:
-  SETCOUNTER(XXenumcounter)(0)
   myeit() Since every variable is in the environment as well as remembered
      by the shell, the memory for it needs to be allocated twice.
@@ -1275,7 +1267,6 @@
   The problem is that there are two possible ways of autoloading a
   function (see the AUTOLOADING FUNCTIONS section of the zsh manual
   page zshmisc for more detailed information):
-  SETCOUNTER(XXenumcounter)(0)
   myeit() The file contains just the body of the function, i.e.
      there should be no line at the beginning saying mytt(function foo {)
@@ -1875,7 +1866,6 @@
   Different conditions can also be combined.  There are three levels
   of this (in decreasing order of precedence):
-  SETCOUNTER(XXenumcounter)(0)
    myeit() multiple square brackets after a single condition give
       alternatives:  for example, mytt(s[foo][bar]) says apply the

             reply	other threads:[~1999-11-29 23:19 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 19+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
1999-11-29 22:52 Peter Stephenson [this message]
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2000-08-29 19:41 Peter Stephenson
2000-07-24 20:52 Peter Stephenson
2000-06-22 19:45 Peter Stephenson
2000-05-24 19:26 Peter Stephenson
2000-04-30 14:41 Peter Stephenson
2000-03-23 20:58 Peter Stephenson
2000-02-23 20:49 Peter Stephenson
2000-01-25 21:10 Peter Stephenson
1999-12-28 12:03 Peter Stephenson
1999-09-27 12:02 Peter Stephenson
1999-07-24 12:20 Peter Stephenson
1999-06-24 12:41 Peter Stephenson
1999-05-24  9:42 Peter Stephenson
1999-04-23 11:49 Peter Stephenson
1999-03-24 10:46 Peter Stephenson
1999-02-25  9:57 Peter Stephenson
1999-01-25  9:19 Peter Stephenson
1998-12-19 13:28 Peter Stephenson

Reply instructions:

You may reply publicly to this message via plain-text email
using any one of the following methods:

* Save the following mbox file, import it into your mail client,
  and reply-to-all from there: mbox

  Avoid top-posting and favor interleaved quoting:

* Reply using the --to, --cc, and --in-reply-to
  switches of git-send-email(1):

  git send-email \
    --in-reply-to=E11sZdw-0006co-00.1999-11-29-22-51-40@mail15.svr.pol.co.uk \
    --to=pws@pwstephenson.fsnet.co.uk \
    --cc=zsh-announce@sunsite.auc.dk \
    --subject='Re: Z-Shell (zsh) FAQ changes this month' \


* If your mail client supports setting the In-Reply-To header
  via mailto: links, try the mailto: link

Code repositories for project(s) associated with this inbox:


This is a public inbox, see mirroring instructions
for how to clone and mirror all data and code used for this inbox;
as well as URLs for NNTP newsgroup(s).