Oh-My-Zsh: Trials and Tribulations

Feb 12, 2014

If you’re not new to the custom shell game, then you’ve probably heard of the Z shell and things like Oh-My-Zsh that help you set up your perfect shell.

As wonderful as these projects are, it’s too easy to take these community driven tools too lightly.

I figured I’d use the bundler plugin when working on a system that I was primarily using a single version of Ruby and not something like rbenv or rvm. Instead of providing completions or the like, it actually make a function that just causes an infinite loop.

Here I am, trying to run something as simple as bundle install and my instance is running out of memory? I figure perhaps the dependency graph is somehow too large (for a small website like this), and added some swap space. The system did only have 1GB of RAM so I figured it was possible when running things like MySQLd and Redis to run out of memory. Sure enough, same thing is happening and now the instance is swapping like crazy. I couldn’t pin it down since it seemed to be something so easy. I figure, heck, lets remove all the gems and try again.

I removed all the gems and then hit up twice and hit enter, not really thinking what I was doing. How could I run bundle when I just removed it. Uh, still ran out of memory? Am I actually not hitting bundler?

Well, the Oh-My-Zsh plugin added a function called bundle that was calling itself recursively until all my memory was gone and I never actually got to bundler. Removing the plugin from the shell caused bundle to install all the gems like normal.

I understand why Oh-My-Zsh is so helpful, especially for a beginner who types /bin/zsh for the first time and sees hostname% and isn’t sure what the heck to do next. I just wish when we push these things out that they’re more carefully checked over!

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