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Chapter 9. Accessing the BSD Subsystem > Terminal Preferences and Configuration

Terminal Preferences and Configuration

As with most Mac OS X GUI tools, a number of things about Terminal can be customized. Because you're probably familiar with configuring GUI apps by now, we'll just hit the highlights and give you an overview of what is configured where.

In Preferences under Terminal, shown in Figure 9.1, you configure the shell to use for interaction in the terminal. Because the default shell from Apple is in bash, it's probably best to keep the default setting, Execute the default login shell using /usr/bin/login, rather than specifying another shell, unless you really want something else. If you do decide to specify another shell, you need to set it, close the Terminal Preferences, and open a new terminal window. In the past we've seen this preference take longer than expected to take effect, so you might quit Terminal and re-launch it if you keep landing in the previous shell. Also, here you can set Terminal to open a saved terminal settings file upon launching. You can also configure the type of (hardware) terminal that Terminal claims to be. If you remember, we said that Terminal is a software version of what used to be hardware devices used to talk to machines. There were many different hardware terminal types, and they all spoke their own hardware-specific languages. This setting in the Terminal's preferences enables you to tell Terminal what type of hardware appliance to claim to be, in case the software at the other end of the communications pipe wants to take advantage of special features that a given hardware terminal appliance might have had. We recommend that you leave this with Apple's default setting unless you meet a system that claims to not know how to speak to your Terminal. A setting of VT100 or VT52 is also likely to be widely compatible.


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