Introduction to zsh

The zsh package contains a command interpreter (shell) usable as an interactive login shell and as a shell script command processor. Of the standard shells, zsh most closely resembles ksh but includes many enhancements.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.4 platform.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

zsh Dependencies


PCRE-8.33 and libcap2-2.22

User Notes: http://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/zsh

Installation of zsh

If you downloaded the optional documentation, unpack it with the following command:

tar --strip-components=1 -xvf ../zsh-5.0.2-doc.tar.bz2

Install zsh by running the following commands:

patch -Np1 -i ../zsh-5.0.2-makeinfo-1.patch &&

./configure --prefix=/usr         \
            --bindir=/bin         \
            --sysconfdir=/etc/zsh \
            --enable-etcdir=/etc/zsh                  &&
make                                                  &&

makeinfo  Doc/zsh.texi --html      -o Doc/html        &&
makeinfo  Doc/zsh.texi --html --no-split --no-headers \
                                   -o Doc/zsh.html    &&
makeinfo  Doc/zsh.texi --plaintext -o Doc/zsh.txt

If you have texlive-20130530 installed, you can build PDF format of the documentation by issuing the following command:

texi2pdf  Doc/zsh.texi -o Doc/zsh.pdf

To test the results, issue: make check.

Now, as the root user:

make install &&
make infodir=/usr/share/info install.info

install -v -m755 -d /usr/share/doc/zsh-5.0.2/html &&
install -v -m644    Doc/html/* \
                    /usr/share/doc/zsh-5.0.2/html &&
install -v -m644    Doc/zsh.{html,txt} \

If you downloaded the optional documentation, install it by issuing the following commands as the root user:

make htmldir=/usr/share/doc/zsh-5.0.2/html install.html &&
install -v -m644 Doc/zsh.dvi /usr/share/doc/zsh-5.0.2

If you built the PDF format of the documentation, install it by issuing the following command as the root user:

install -v -m644 Doc/zsh.pdf \

Command Explanations

--sysconfdir=/etc/zsh and --enable-etcdir=/etc/zsh: These parameters are used so that all the zsh configuration files are consolidated into the /etc/zsh directory. Omit these parameters if you wish to retain historical compatibility by having all the files located in the /etc directory.

--bindir=/bin: This parameter places the zsh binaries into the root filesystem.

--enable-cap: This parameter enables POSIX capabilities.

--disable-gdbm: This parameter disables the use of the GDBM library.

--enable-pcre: This parameter allows to use the pcre regular expression library in shell builtins.

Multiple partitions

Linking zsh dynamically against pcre and/or gdbm produces runtime dependencies on libpcre.so and/or libgdbm.so respectively, which both reside in /usr hierarchy. If /usr is a separate mount point and zsh needs to be available in boot time, then its supporting libraries should be in /lib too. You can move the libraries as follows:

mv -v /usr/lib/libpcre.so.* /lib &&
ln -v -sf ../../lib/libpcre.so.0 /usr/lib/libpcre.so

mv -v /usr/lib/libgdbm.so.* /lib &&
ln -v -sf ../../lib/libgdbm.so.3 /usr/lib/libgdbm.so

Alternatively you can statically link zsh against pcre and gdbm if you modify the config.modules file (you need first to run configure to generate it).

Configuring zsh

Config Files

There are a whole host of configuration files for zsh including /etc/zsh/zshenv, /etc/zsh/zprofile, /etc/zsh/zshrc, /etc/zsh/zlogin and /etc/zsh/zlogout. You can find more information on these in the zsh(1) and related manual pages.

Configuration Information

Update /etc/shells to include the zsh shell program names (as the root user):

cat >> /etc/shells << "EOF"


Installed Programs: zsh and zsh-5.0.2
Installed Libraries: Numerous plugin helper modules
Installed Directories: /etc/zsh, /usr/lib/zsh, /usr/share/doc/zsh-5.0.2 and /usr/share/zsh

Short Description


is a shell which has command-line editing, built-in spelling correction, programmable command completion, shell functions (with autoloading), a history mechanism, and a host of other features.

Last updated on 2013-08-21 09:31:34 -0700