How to set an Enviroment variable?

Derek Broughton news at
Thu Mar 20 13:13:02 UTC 2008

Francisco Borges wrote:

> Hello,
> On Thu, Mar 20, 2008 at 12:10 AM, Derek Broughton <news at>
> wrote:
>> Dario Figueira wrote:
>>  > the subject says it all, in Windows i know how, My Computer
>>  > proprieties -> advanced and it's there
>>  > and here? :)
>>  export abc=xyz
>>  To set a variable for a specific program invocation, you can just use:
>>  # variable=value program
>>  e.g.:
>>  # LANG=fr_CA kate
>>  To set a variable for a user at login, you can use the export command in
>>  the ~/.bashrc file.
> From the bash manual:
> =========
> When bash is invoked as an interactive login shell, or as a
> non-interactive shell with
>  the  --login  option, it first reads and executes commands from the
> file /etc/profile,
>  if that  file  exists.   After  reading  that  file,  it  looks  for
> ~/.bash_profile,
>  ~/.bash_login, and ~/.profile, in that order,
> =========
> So as far as I can tell, bash will only read ~/.bashrc when you start
> it "interactive non-login",

Possibly.  I always find the different bash scripts confusing, but I _think_
that's wrong.  aiui, .bashrc is executed for _every_ shell - interactive or
not, login or not, whereas .profile only executes for login shells (it
doesn't _need_ to be set for non-login shells, as they inherit from a shell
that already has the .profile settings).  But I could be wrong...  

In any case, you're right that .profile is where environment variables
should really be set - it is, after all, the per-user counterpart
to /etc/profile, which is where I said it should be set if you want all
users to get it...


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