How to Install Fish Shell (with Starship) in Linux

Linux TLDR
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The Fish is a modern (friendly interactive shell) program identical to its allies, like Bash and Zsh, but with sprinkles on top. What does that mean?

You already know about the Bash shell (because it’s the default login shell for most Linux distros) and the Zsh shell (don’t know about it, check out our detailed guide article).

Both shells are amazing, but one lacks a feature (referring to Bash) and the other requires manual configuration (referring to ZSH); taking advantage of that gap, Fish Shell arises.

Tutorial Details

DescriptionFish (Friendly Interactive Shell)
Difficulty LevelModerate
Root or Sudo PrivilegesYes
Host System and ArchitectureUbuntu 22.10 (x64)
OS Compatibility Ubuntu, Manjaro, Fedora, etc.
Prerequisiteschsh, curl
Internet RequiredYes
Discussed Tools in this Article

A Short Story of Fish Shell

Fish is a user-friendly UNIX/Linux shell program that focuses on providing most of the known features by default without requiring any manual configuration.

The default features are followed by:

  • Autosuggestion
  • Tab Completion
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Alluring UI
  • Easy Scripting
  • Web-based Configuration

For other shells, either they provide you with the selective features or they require manual installation and configuration that is not included.

That’s enough for the introduction; let’s move on to the installation part.

Installing Fish Shell on the Linux System

The Fish shell is included in most Linux repositories, and you can install it using their default package manager.

Choose one of the following commands with respect to your Linux system:

$ sudo apt install fish                        #On Debian, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, or Linux Mint
$ sudo dnf install fish                        #On Fedora, AlmaLinux, RHEL, or Rocky Linux
$ sudo zypper install fish                  #On OpenSUSE
$ sudo pacman -S fish                       #On Arch, Manjaro, or EndeavourOS
$ guix package -i fish                        #On Guix
$ brew install fish                              #Using Homebrew package manager

Verify the program existence by executing the following command:

$ fish -v

Output:

Verifying the fish version
Verifying the fish version

Also Read: 3 Ways to Change User’s Login Shell in Linux

Changing the Default Shell

Now, it’s time to switch your existing shell to Fish Shell using the chsh command.

$ chsh -s $(which fish)

It will ask for the current user’s password while changing it, as shown.

Changing the default shell to a fish shell
Changing the default shell to a fish shell

Log out and then log back in to apply the changes, and you will be greeted with the following welcome screen when you open your terminal:

Fish shell interface
Fish shell interface

Knocking Down a Greeting Message in a Fish Shell

The problem is that whenever you launch the terminal, you will be greeted with the greeting message, which is totally annoying for anyone.

To knock it down, open your Fish shell configuration file by using the Vim or Nano editors.

$ nano ~/.config/fish/config.fish
#OR
$ vim ~/.config/fish/config.fish

Add the following line at the end of the configuration file:

set fish_greeting

Save and close the file, and open a new terminal session to notice the changes.

Fish shell interface without greeting message
Fish shell interface without greeting message

Configuring the Fish using the Web UI

The Fish shell comes with web UI configuration to manage your terminal colors, prompt design, setting custom aliases, listing command history, and keybinding.

Execute the following command to launch the Fish web UI configuration window:

$ fish_config

Output:

Fish shell web UI configuration window
Fish shell web UI configuration window

Today, the scope of the article is not to show you the configuration step; you can easily manage to do it by yourself, so let’s move on to the next topic.

Installing and Configuring the Starship

Fish Shell comes with tons of modern predefined prompts, including Starship (also available for Bash and Zsh), the one and only most popular and favorite prompt for Fish.

Execute the following command to install the starship by using the curl command:

$ curl -sS https://starship.rs/install.sh | sh

During installation, it will ask for your choice of yes or no for installing “Starship latest” to the “/usr/local/bin” directory.

Press “Y” to confirm and pass your existing user account password, as shown.

Installing and configuring the fish starship prompt
Installing and configuring the fish starship prompt

Lastly, execute the following command to modify the Fish configuration file with Starship:

$ echo "starship init fish | source" >> ~/.config/fish/config.fish

Open a new terminal session, and you will be presented with the following prompt:

Starship prompt for Fish shell
Starship prompt for Fish shell

Uninstalling Fish Shell

If you didn’t like the Fish shell for any reason, then the removal steps are pretty straightforward; start by changing the default shell back to the Bash shell using the following command:

$ chsh -s /bin/bash

Then execute one of the following commands, depending on your system type, to uninstall Fish:

$ sudo apt remove fish                        #On Debian, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS, or Linux Mint
$ sudo dnf remove fish                        #On Fedora, AlmaLinux, RHEL, or Rocky Linux
$ sudo zypper remove fish                  #On OpenSUSE
$ sudo pacman -R fish                         #On Arch, Manjaro, or EndeavourOS
$ guix package -r fish                          #On Guix
$ brew uninstall fish                            #Using Homebrew package manager

Lastly, execute the following command to remove all directories and files used for Fish shell:

$ rm -Rf /usr/local/etc/fish /usr/local/share/fish ~/.config/fish
$ cd /usr/local/bin
$ rm -f fish fish_indent

That’s all for now.

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