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I don't understand how to get the "correct" colors in terminal vim. My .vimrc file looks like:

syntax enable
colorscheme desert256

I am doing this on a black background in Terminal in Mac OS X Lion. But when I execute vim, I get the colors, but I notice that set background=light when it should be dark (vim always seems to guess wrong on the background). So if I do a set background=dark the colors change but then if I type colorscheme, vim reports that I am back to default.

Should I be using syntax on or some other command?

Please provide some guidance on how to properly do syntax highlighting in terminal vim.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Found this snippet from zenburn.vim.

" * Work-around to a Vim bug, it seems to misinterpret ctermfg and 234 and 237            
"   as light values, and sets background to light for some people. If you have            
"   this problem, use:                                                                    

"   let g:zenburn_force_dark_Background = 1        

if exists("g:zenburn_force_dark_Background")
    " Force dark background, because of a bug in VIM:  VIM sets background
    " automatically during "hi Normal ctermfg=X"; it misinterprets the high
    " value (234 or 237 above) as a light color, and wrongly sets background to
    " light.  See ":help highlight" for details.
    set background=dark

To fix this, just add

set background=dark

to the end of desert256.vim after all the highlighting.

share|improve this answer
ok, but if I do this, it still reports default as the color scheme (even though the colors are different than default) - Guess its ok as a workaround... – Jason Waldrop Oct 13 '11 at 13:05
@JasonWaldrop Hmm, it returns desert256 for me. – Jin Oct 13 '11 at 13:26

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