If I wanted to use
zsh, for instance, rather than
bash, where would I make this change for the current user?
If I wanted to use
Chris Browne's answer works well if you don't have access to the user and have root privileges.
If you want to change the default shell of your current user you can also use:
chsh -s /bin/ksh
The login shell of a user is defined in a file (
/etc/passwd on Debian). This files has an entry for each user with the info entered at creation.
rahmu:x:1000:1000:My Nameisrahmu,,,:/home/rahmu:/bin/bash anotheruser:x:1001:1001:,,,:/home/anotheruser:/bin/ksh
The last column is the login shell. It will be forked by the login program if successful.
However it is highly recommended that you do not modify this file by hand. You should use
usermod whenever possible.
usermod -s /bin/zsh <username>
man usermod for more options.
You can change your login shell with the
chsh command. As
man chsh notes, a normal user can only change the shell for their own account, while root can change the shell for all accounts.
/etc/shells contains the pathnames of valid login shells. This file is queried by
chsh when it is invoked.
The instructions for using
chsh vary according to your UNIX flavour:
chsh -s newshell
chsh username newshell
This will start an interactive session where you are prompted for the full path to your new shell.
On systems where you don't have sudo access or proper permission to use chsh (for example if you cannot add /bin/zsh to /etc/shell), then you can do it the old fashioned way:
$ mv ~/.bash_profile ~/.bash_profile.old $ (echo :; echo exec /bin/zsh -il) > ~/.bash_profile $ source ~/.bash_profile
This will replace the
bash shell with a login
zsh at login.
I was trying to do this on a Synology device running DSM 5.1 with ash shell running. For some reason the
chsh command was not available. I had to instead edit the file
/etc/passwd, putting in the full path to the shell executable I instead wanted.