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OS X terminal is not using colors for highlighting output from different commands, for example ls.

When compared with other systems like Ubuntu, this is a big loss of accessibility/productivity.

What solutions do I have to improve this experience? For the moment I found only this guide for colored ls output under OS X but I am looking for a more complete solution.

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  • you should change the preferences->advanced into xterm-color.
  • enter the following into your ~/.profile

for enable colored ls:

export CLICOLOR=1;
export LSCOLORS=exfxcxdxbxegedabagacad;

and from now, you will get colored ls output.

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+1 For proper terminal colour definitions. In general colours are personal but I would recommend to enable features more on a system-based way than by adding a plugin. – Tigran Khanzadyan May 30 '11 at 16:55
+1 - Does what it says on the tin. Cheers. A question: Where would I put such a config file at a more general level (i.e. not in ~)? – boehj May 30 '11 at 20:10
IMHO the your $HOME/.profile is the best place, but if you want can put them into system wide /etc/profile. e.g. sudo open /etc/profile – jm666 May 30 '11 at 20:13
Thanks. – boehj May 30 '11 at 22:38
Note that prior to Lion, the default $TERM value is xterm-color, so you rarely need to change it. As of Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Terminal's default $TERM value is xterm-256color, which enables programs that can take advantage of the extended 256 color palette. On Lion and later, using xterm-color is discouraged, because it describes an older, less-featureful branch of xterm, and Lion Terminal is more compatible with modern xterm. So you should generally stick with xterm-256color or just xterm. – Chris Page Aug 26 '11 at 5:15

You can easily change the ls output color by installing "TerminalColors" plugin. I am a big fan of "Solarize" theme which looks terrific on my Mac.

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Looks nice. Will try it this evening. – Loïc Wolff May 30 '11 at 14:10
+1 thanks, Solarize is nice and I will use it, but the question was not about how to "tune" the colors, it was about adding colors to the output of different commands. – sorin May 30 '11 at 14:54

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