Oh-my-SLOW-zsh: my transition back to bash

short-post, bash, and ohmyzsh
a movie still from Turbo from 2013
Turbo, 2013

Disclaimer This is not like my usual posts, and it’s small in comparison. I’m not a “shell” power user, I’m a pretty dumb user compared to people who can do magic with stuff like awesome awk or sed. I also don’t know a lot about ohmyzsh inner-workings, I just used some of its features. I’m writing this first and foremost as a guide for “future me” if I ever need to configure this again on another computer.

Recently I started noticing ohmyzsh functioning slowly for my daily usage, even on a modern Macbook Pro:

I tried a couple of workaround/fixes for this slowness, for example trying to not boot stuff like nvm whenever I start a new session, but it didn’t do the trick for the slowness between writing commands. I definitely did NOT do any sort of in-deep study on the latency of the commands, this is, by far, not one of Dan Luu’s awesome latency studies.

After almost 2-3 years of using ohmyzsh I decided to try and switch back to plain bash with some minor workarounds, and see if I can get the “instant response” feeling of older days (that for some unknown reason seems lost).

Here are the steps I took to set up an environment where I’d be able to use bash with some comfort:

1) Getting free from zsh and the “hip and cool framework to configure it”

I uninstalled ohmyzsh, and switched my default shell to bash:

chsh -s /bin/bash

2) Upgrading Mac’s bash version from 3.2 to 4

Basically, I needed this for the autocd feature. Originally found in https://clubmate.fi/upgrade-to-bash-4-in-mac-os-x/:

brew update && brew install bash
sudo bash -c 'echo /usr/local/bin/bash >> /etc/shells'
chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash

3) Setup bash autocd feature and list shortcuts

I know I’d miss the feature of not having to write down cd to switch between dirs, in bash 4 this did the trick for me:

shopt -s autocd

Also, for comfort, added a few ls shortcuts to my .bashrc file:

alias ls='ls -G'
alias l='ls -lah'

4) Setup git aliases similar to the ones of the ohmyzsh git plugin

I’m using oh-my-git-aliases.sh, I added something similar to this to my .bashrc:

source "$HOME/.some_scripts_folder/oh-my-git-aliases.sh"

5) Show branch name in git versioned folders

Not sure how to do this for now, writing down git branch will have to do it in the meantime.

Final result and remarks

My endeavors in the console world feel “instant”-like again and don’t irritate me. I didn’t go very in deep to investigate the performance issues with ohmyzsh, maybe sometime in the future, I’ll dedicate a bit of time solely for that.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to using ohmyzsh. To be fair with ohmyzsh, I’ll say this again, I didn’t invest a ton of time researching on more ways of trying to optimize it, at one point the slowness was very irritating, so I just switched back to something that, for now works perfectly for me, which is plain old bash with some tweaks.