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Go Fish: The Friendly Interactive Shell

When I first saw a reference to Fish, well, let's just say that I didn't rush to download it. I think about changing shells about as often as I think about shaving my head and joining a religious cult: it just isn't going to happen. If it does happen, check my head for large bumps and demand positive identification: you may be talking to an imposter or I may have suffered a head injury.

I mean really: "bash" is fantastic. If you are a tcsh user or have even more esoteric tastes you no doubt have the same fantatical attachment to your favorite. It would take a LOT for most of us to even think about changing shells.

Well, I'm still not planning on changing. But.. the more I read about Fish, the more I found myself nodding my head and thinking "yeah, that *should* be that way". For example, take the business of code blocks. In bash and all sh descendants, we are accustomed to the various possibilities to end blocks: esac, fi, done and of course "}" to end a function definition. I've never given that a second thought, but really it's silly; look how Fish does it:

if true; echo hello; end
for i in a b c; echo $i; end
switch $you; case '*'; echo hi; end
function hi; echo hello; end

Sheesh. That makes a lot more sense, doesn't it? There's a lot more; I suggest reading http://arstechnica.com/articles/columns/linux/linux-20051218.ars/2 - not because you are any more likely to switch to this than I am, but just because it is interesting to think about the deficiencies and oddities we put up with every day.

I downloaded source to my Mac from http://roo.no-ip.org/fish/; there are binary Linux RPM's also. For reasons I really can't imagine, I had to download Doxygen also (http://www.stack.nl/~dimitri/doxygen/download.html) and

cp /Applications/Doxy*/Contents/Resources/doxygen ~/bin

Other than that nonsense, ./configure, make, and sudo make install was all that it took.

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If Linux can skate by the patent and copyright issues, its growth in the corporate world will continue no matter what business dislikes about the GPL. (Tony Lawrence)

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