I made the switch from Windows to Mac OS as my chosen desktop operating system nearly 4 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I continue to use Linux as my preferred server operating system. Of a handful of frustrations from my switch to Mac OS, one I have solved today. The Mac OS Terminal application has always seemed quite limp as compared to the various terminals offered by Linux distributions such as those from KDE and Gnome. Even terminals from Windows such as PuTTY seemed more capable.
However after spending a little time to get to know my Mac OS Terminal, I have come to realise that it isn’t quite as limp as I thought. Either through the Leopard or Snow Leopard updates, Tabs were introduced (I don’t recall seeing them in Tiger which was when I last paid any attention to Terminal). Neat!
So I starting looking at the biggest annoyance with Terminal, the inability to navigate the Bash shell command line with the keyboard. With other terminals I have used on both Windows and Linux, it was possible to press Home to go to the start of the shell command, End to go to the end, and use Ctrl-Left and Ctrl-Right to move the cursor word by word through a command line. This might seem trivial but I’m quite proficient with the UNIX shell (from my days as a UNIX Sys-admin) and tend to write reasonably complex shell commands. There is nothing more frustrating than realising you omitted a switch to one of the first commands in a pipeline. There was no choice but to hold down the left arrow cursor key and wait for the cursor to gingerly wander back to the start of the command where it can be positioned to insert or correct a switch. This has always given me the shits!!
So after some investigation and reading a couple of blog posts on this issue, I found an article: The complete keyboard mapping for Leopard’s Terminal.app by Henrique Bastos which provides instructions on how to configure these keys.