Colours in the Mac OS X terminal

My snobbish conviction that Mac OS X is somehow an inferior operating system has been growing of late. I long to install Ubuntu 12.04 on my Power Mac at work (centrally managed by Oxford Physics IT services), just so that I don’t have to recompile every bloody component of my toolchain every time I start a new project.

Anyway, for evidence that Mac OS X isn’t a “proper” operating system, note the lack of colours in the default terminal profile. Microsoft Windows (vehemently not a proper operating system) also lacks colours on the command line by default. You do the maths.

To get colours in the terminal on a Mac, add the following to your ~/.bashrc:

export CLICOLOR = 1


About Phil Bull

I'm a theoretical cosmologist, currently working as a NASA NPP fellow at JPL/Caltech in Pasadena, CA. My research focuses on the effects of inhomogeneities on the evolution of the Universe and how we measure it. I'm also keen on stochastic processes, scientific computing, the philosophy of science, and open source stuff. View all posts by Phil Bull

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