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Why I finally switched to zsh

D. Ben Knoble on 21 May 2020 in Blog

Some people were astonished I still used bash (though I was on version 5+).

Ok, I finally switched, but

I spent the last week getting my toes wet, reading the FAQ, User’s Guide, and Manual cover-to-cover, and porting my bash config over to zsh. It is at last done, and I have to say I’m happy enough with zsh to have chshed to it.

But why?

Ultimately, it took me this long to make the switch because

This last point is really the stickler: I like to be an expert in the systems I use (no Oh-my-zsh for me). I became an expert in bash precisely because the core is so small; I am a long way from mastering zshell and its hieroglyphs.

But, ultimately, I had to recognize that it is likely to bring me performance gains in the many years to come. I’ll have

To be clear, zsh is not here to replace bash. Bash is still a mainstay of my scripting and automation world; I’m not giving up that expertise, and it ranks 2nd in terms of portability (/bin/sh taking first place).

But zsh might just be this programmer’s paradise… for proof, consider how some of my zsh configuration is simpler than its bash counterpart (and the more complex pieces tend to be the result of more complex, but more powerful and ultimately productive, systems).


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