Basic Linux Operations FAQ
Part 3 of the Linux Newbie Administrator Guide
3.1.4 How can I change the PATH?
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don't have to change your PATH, but it very useful to understand what PATH
is the list of directories which are searched when you request the execution
of a program. You can check your PATH using this command:
which, on my system , shows the PATH for the user "yogin" to be:
The ":" is a separator, therefore the above PATH represents a list of directories
Here is the output from the command "echo $PATH" run on my system on the
You can change the PATH for all users on the system by editing the file
/etc/profile and adjusting (as root) the line starting with "PATH=".
I do it using the pico editor (as root):
pico -w /etc/profile
(The option -w turns off the wrap of long lines.)
Re-login for the change to take effect. To set up the PATH for an
individual user only, edit the file /home/user_login_name/.bash_profile
(please note the dot in front of the filename--files starting with a dot
are normally invisible, you have to use ls -a to see them).
If you really want to have the current directory on your PATH, add "." (dot)
to your PATH. When used in the place when directory name is expected,
a dot means "the current directory". The specification for the path in /etc/.bash_profile
may then look like this:
This command takes the contents of the environmental variable called PATH
(as set for all users in /etc/profile), and appends to it the name
of your home directory as set by the variable HOME with an attached "/bin"
and then a dot. Finally, the command assigns the resulting string back to
the variable called PATH. It is necessary to use the command "export"
after modifying PATH or any other user-environment variable, so that the
variable is visible outside of the script that sets it.
Next > 3.1.5
How can I shutdown my computer?