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I have the latest stable versions of Emacs (24.3) and of Zsh (5.0.2).

I can run Zsh without problem from a terminal (e.g. ITerm2), but if I try to run it from M-x ansi-term I get the error:

Emacs ansi-term with zsh: error in process filter. Invalid face: unspecified

This is the case even if I start M-x ansi-term with bash and then I try to switch to zsh.

This is all on Mac OS X. Any thoughts on what may be causing this and how to overcome it?

  • This is probably an error in a configuration file somewhere. unspecified is a valid face attribute but not a valid face, it looks like one has been used for the other. Do you have a .emacs file? Do you have the problem if you run emacs -q? if you run emacs -Q? – Gilles Sep 30 '13 at 20:17
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I had exactly the same problem on WSL.

Following the comment by user @Gilles I confirmed that trying with emacs -q did not manifest the problem. After that, I scratched around in the custom-set-variables sexp auto-saved by Emacs and found the offending unspecified in the ansi-term-color-vector.

I simply removed the whole ansi-term-color-vector sexp and restarted Emacs with full config. Now the previously offending apps run fine in the emacs terminal.

(custom-set-variables
 ;; custom-set-variables was added by Custom.
 ;; If you edit it by hand, you could mess it up, so be careful.
 ;; Your init file should contain only one such instance.
 ;; If there is more than one, they won't work right.
 '(ansi-color-faces-vector
   [default bold shadow italic underline bold bold-italic bold])
 '(ansi-term-color-vector
   [unspecified "#272822" "#f92672" "#a6e22e" "#f4bf75" "#66d9ef" "#ae81ff" "#66d9ef" "#f8f8f2"] t))

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