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ZSH takes about a second and a half from creating a new terminal window to being ready. I'm pretty sure that the culprit is compinit.

I haven't been able to find good documentation on compinit, but it looks like it should be caching all of the necessary things in some file like .zcompdump.

Any tricks on speeding it up?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 14 down vote accepted

oh-my-zsh was taking about 1.5 seconds to start up on my laptop. I wrote up some of the steps I took to get that down to about 0.25 seconds.

Another kind soul summarized the steps required to integrate my changes into your copy of oh-my-zsh.

The biggest problem is that compinit was being called a whole bunch of extra times instead of just one time after the fpath was completely defined. I made those changes on my branch of oh-my-zsh on github. The changes have been discussed on github and they seem to be working well for a few people. Hopefully the changes will be merged into oh-my-zsh in the near future.

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Perfect, thanks! –  Eli Apr 25 '11 at 4:22
2  
For future readers, I believe all these changes have now been merged upstream. –  Michael Mior May 12 '12 at 23:41
1  
Changes may have been moved upstream, but removing Git from plugins has helped me substantially. –  kylehotchkiss Jun 15 '12 at 12:57

While ZSH has it's own fair-share of slowdowns, if you find the terminal window blank for a few moments before you see the Last Login: line, you are going to need to clear your log files to see speed improvements. This is still an issue as of OSX Lion and will need to be done every several months. Lame, I know.

The command is:

sudo rm -rf /private/var/log/asl/*.asl

Of course, you need to read this article beforehand and so you know exactly what is going on, because running anything that says sudo rm needs to be thought about. I only put this here because your use of ZSH proves your competence with the command line to start.

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Thanks, such a simple solution for something that's been plaguing me for so long! –  Dean Jun 27 '13 at 15:35
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I'd recommend not using -r since no directories are involved and it sn't needed. Omitting it leads to less tears if someone types sudo rm -rf / private/var/log/asl*.asl (space before private) by mistake. –  Dean Jun 27 '13 at 15:39

My biggest improvement has come from removing items from the plugin=() section. The 'github' and 'brew' plugins are very slow to load.

I also removed hub which I had aliased togitand that sped up the prompt as well.

I've been using '/usr/bin/time zsh -i -c exit' to record the startup times, however compinit doesn't appear to make a big enough difference for me.

It'd be great to hear what others are doing to speed it up.

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1  
Removing the github and brew plugins solved my problem immediately. –  Peter Niederwieser Nov 15 '11 at 3:02
    
git and brew plugins are quite essential to me. By removing ruby plugin solved my problem. Thanks. –  Ivan Z. G. Xiao Mar 19 '12 at 17:30

Are you using the pre-installed /bin/zsh or another one? I ask, because the zsh I have installed through fink starts terribly slow due its inclusion of zsh templates, while the vanilla starts right up.

Does running with an explicit dumpfile (compinit -d dumpfile) make it go faster? The man page states that

The next invocation of compinit will read the dumped file instead of performing a full initialization.

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1  
I am using Oh My Zsh (which I believe uses the default /bin/zsh). When I disable loading all of Oh My Zsh's plugins and whatnot, it loads up really quickly, but I think in that case compinit is never called. When I manually call compinit it takes a little while. Maybe it's just because Oh My Zsh adds so many bindings to compinit? –  Eli Jan 24 '11 at 17:16

Now oh-my-zsh checks special git configuration option oh-my-zsh.hide-status before querying status. So run

git config oh-my-zsh.hide-status 1

on problematic repository.

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I was using the theme "af-magic"

Switching to "muse" solved the issue.

Edit ~/.zshrc and modify that line:

#ZSH_THEME="random"
#ZSH_THEME="af-magic"
ZSH_THEME="muse"
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