sh-mode usually does a great job of auto-magically detecting which shell a file is intended to be run by. It looks at the shebang, for instance. However, I have a bunch of files that are intended to be sourced, not run as executables, and thus I don't have a shebang.

I have my $SHELL environment variable set to bash, but when I open the file, sh-mode still defaults to sh. How do I get it to default to bash?

I've tried running (getenv "SHELL") in both *scratch* and with eval-expression in the shell file's buffer, and they both report "usr/loca/bin/bash". Why doesn't sh-mode respect this? I've been digging through the source code and it really seems like this should be working.


As @RichieHH mentioned you can set sh-shell-file via the custom facility or directly for a global default.

Alternatively, and my preferred method, is to set the shell via file-local variables. For example, the first line of your file could look like:

## -*- mode: shell-script; sh-shell: zsh; sh-basic-offset: 3; sh-indentation: 3; coding: utf-8 -*-

This sets the local file to shell-script mode, using the zsh shell, and indentation to 3. (The variable sh-shell is what is set when you call M-x sh-set-shell.) shell-script-mode will then figure out sh-shell-file on its own (presumably based on your path.)

Obviously, you could do something similar with directory local variables.

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  • Since I often use vim to make quick edits, ## vim: ts=3:sts=3:sw=3:et:ft=zsh would be a similar modeline. – nega Feb 12 at 18:37

Did you look at sh-shell-file? It picks up the shell from that I think reading the docstring.

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