photo: courtesy of @nixCraft
Vim syntax highlighting can be fantastically garish. It is, without a doubt, very useful, but anyone can make a colour scheme and not everyone should. With that in mind, these are some I like that may look horrible to you. If my choices don't suit you, just do a google search for "best vim colors": a LOT of people have opinions about this. In fact, stop reading and go to https://code.google.com/p/vimcolorschemetest/ or http://vimcolors.com/ first to get a taste of the huge variety available.
The colour schemes below are exclusively for black or very dark backgrounds. See below for download links.
General purpose: ir_black or derivative tir_black
Debian defaults: elflord or slate (if I haven't had time to install my preferred colours)
16 Colour Terminals: wuye
Bash: black_angus, tir_black
Dot/Graphviz: herald, molokai, nightsky, jellyx
HTML: nightsky, shobogenzo, tir_black, herald, jammy
Java: candy, candycode, ir_black, jammy, nightsky, oceanblack, shobogenzo!
Makefile: gardener, tir_black, ir_black
Markdown: badwolf, jellybeans, tir_black, wuye
RST: nightsky, NOT oceanblack, NOT slatedark
Vimcode: shobogenzo, jammy
XML: candy, herald, jammy, ir_black, NOT shobogenzo
YML: badwolf, black_angus, darkdevel, tir_black
Getting 256 colours out of vim in a console can be a real PITA. Vim takes its cues from the terminal its in, and if the terminal says it only supports eight colours, vim believes it.
# add this to /etc/profile on Linux systems if [ -e /usr/share/terminfo/x/xterm?256color ] then export TERM='xterm-256color' else export TERM='xterm-color' fi
" Add this to your ~/.vimrc if &term=="xterm-256color" set t_Co=256 " "terminal has 256 colors" endif
If you're on a Mac AND using tmux, you have to go a step further:
# add to ~/.tmux.conf because tmux has trouble figuring out the number of colours set -g default-terminal "screen-256color" # your Mac supports it