[plug] setting environment variables

James Devenish devenish at guild.uwa.edu.au
Fri Apr 9 15:58:05 WST 2004


In message < at pop.ozemail.com.au>
on Fri, Apr 09, 2004 at 02:54:35PM +0800, smclevie wrote:
> I have changed my MAILPATH in a .profile file in my home directory and yet 
> when I "echo $MAILPATH" I get nothing!!

You have taken the right approach.

> Why is my .profile file not observed??

Details about .profile can be found in the documentation for your
"shell". It is likely that your shell is "bash" (that's the name of the
programme). You can find the documentation in "the bash man page" or
"the bash info file". I think the short answer is that .profile is only
used when you "start" the shell as a "login shell". You can edit
.profile as much as you like, but it does not "come into effect
immediately". This is highly intentional.

If you run `bash` on the command line (to create a "shell within a
shell"), or open a new terminal window, you will probably find that
$MAILPATH is set. If this does not work, you might need to move your
definition to .bashrc. Alternatively, you can invoke .profile in an
already-running shell by entering this command: "source ~/.profile".
This will cause bash to read and interpret the contents of .profile.

If you have further trouble with .profile, perhaps a bash user could
assist (I don't use bash).

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