Unable to Run Alternate Shell in Mac OS X

Posted on 2011-10-30
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
In an effort to learn more about using the command line on my MacBook, I downloaded and installed the "friendly interactive shell", also know as fish (

I followed the instructions in the following link:

The last step in the above link is:
"Make fish the default shell. Append opt/local/bin/fish to the /etc/shells file. Then open the Accounts System Preferences panel, unlock it, Control-click on your account picture and select Advanced Options. Set the Login Shell to opt/local/bin/fish."

However, it's not working. When I try to run Terminal, I'm getting the following error message:
"You are not authorized to run this application. The administrator has set your shell to an illegal value."

How can I fix this?
Question by:anuneznyc
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    Contrary to the given directions, make sure you start the path to fish with "/", i.e.:

    It should be this way in /etc/shells, and where you've set it as your default shell.

    Author Comment

    Wow. So obvious! And yet I totally failed to start the path with a "/".

    Thank you very much!!

    Featured Post

    How to improve team productivity

    Quip adds documents, spreadsheets, and tasklists to your Slack experience
    - Elevate ideas to Quip docs
    - Share Quip docs in Slack
    - Get notified of changes to your docs
    - Available on iOS/Android/Desktop/Web
    - Online/Offline

    Join & Write a Comment

    The /etc/authorization file in Mac OS X 10.x can be used to control access to the various panes of the System Preferences amongst other things. It’s used by some of us Mac Sys Admin’s to give Standard Users access to System Prefs panes that only adm…
    Do you come here a lot? Are you lazy like me and don't want to go through the "trouble" of having to click your Dock's Safari icon and then having to click your Experts Exchange Favorites bookmark to get here? Well then this article is for you.
    Learn how to get help with Linux/Unix bash shell commands. Use help to read help documents for built in bash shell commands.: Use man to interface with the online reference manuals for shell commands.: Use man to search man pages for unknown command…
    Learn how to navigate the file tree with the shell. Use pwd to print the current working directory: Use ls to list a directory's contents: Use cd to change to a new directory: Use wildcards instead of typing out long directory names: Use ../ to move…

    733 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    17 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now