Zsh with Oh My Zsh

I don’t use zsh with ohmyzsh anymore. This is what I use now. More lean and custom.

Z shell or Zsh is a unix shell that was written by Paul Falstad in 1990. The name zsh derives from the name of Yale professor Zhong Shao (then a teaching assistant at Princeton University) — Paul Falstad regarded Shao’s login-id, “zsh”, as a good name for a shell. Zsh has features like interactive Tab completion, automated file searching, regex integration, advanced shorthand for defining command scope, and a rich theme engine. Combine it with a framework like oh-my-zsh, it really could help you be more productive.

Installing Zsh

  • Debian, Ubuntu and other Debian based disros:
$ sudo apt install zsh
  • Archlinux, Manjaro and other Arch-based distros:
$ sudo apt install zsh
  • Fedora, RHEL, and CentOS:
$ sudo dnf install zsh

Setting Zsh to your default shell

Now that you have installed zsh on your machine let’s set it as the default shell for your user. Execute the following command without sudo, upon which you’ll be prompted to enter the password for your user.

chsh -s $(which zsh)

Now if you log out and log back and open a terminal it should present you with the zsh shell instead of the bash shell.

Installing Oh My Zsh

  • Using Curl
$ sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
  • Using Wget
$ sh -c "$(wget https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh -O -)"

At this point you might as well install a favourite powerline font. if you’re on Debian or any of it’s forks sudo apt install powerline-fonts should work for most cases.


A lot of plugins come built in, for example plugins for distro specific commands are available in the name of the distro it’s written for, so you’ll find plugins such as debian and fedora. you can find all the plugins at ~/.oh-my-zsh/plugins. All the plugins are not enabled by default. In-order to enable a plugin you need to add the plugin nams to your plugins list in your .zshrc

One plugin that I find a lot of value in is the zsh-autosuggestions plugin. It commands based on your .zsh_history. But it is not a default plugin so we need to manually add it. We can do so by cloning the plugin repo to the ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/plugins folder.

Here’s a list of all the plugins that I use:

  • colored-man-pages
  • debian
  • emacs
  • git
  • gnu-utils
  • lxd
  • zsh-autosuggestions
  • zsh-syntax-highlighting

Only two of the above plugins are custom, so we clone them to the custom plugins folder.

cd ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/plugins
git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting
git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions

Then I add the names of the plugins to the list in my .zshrc

plugins=(colored-man-pages debian emacs git gnu-utils zsh-autosuggestions zsh-syntax-highlighting )


There are a wide variety of themes built-in to oh-my-zsh but my favourite is Powerlevel10k. You can install it by running the following command:

git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

This theme is pretty neat and if configured properly can give you a lot of information through the prompt itself. It uses a bunch of icons which you can get through the theme’s recomended font Meslo Nerd Font. You can get these fonts by downloading the TTF files given below to your ~/.fonts/ folder Download these four ttf files:

Then set ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k" in ~/.zshrc. After this source your ~/.zshrc or open a new terminal to run the setup process for the theme.

And there you go this is my setup.