Command-Line Bash Environment Variables – Fix PATH Variable Reset Issue

bashcommand lineenvironment-variables

A little time ago, I found out, that I can create custom commandterminals with expanding the PATH-variable. Unfortunately, it gets always resettet, when I close the terminal and opens it again.

Do you know how to fix this problem?

Because when I want to start a few scripts with terminalcommands, I don't want to expand the PATH-variable everytime before …

Best Answer

I understand you have some executables in one of your home folders, e.g., in ~/bin and you want to be able to execute them without always typing the full path ~/bin/my_cool_executable.

You already observed that entering PATH=~/bin:$PATH in your terminal made things work... but only until you close the terminal. When you open a new one, your former PATH variable gets reset to its original value. By the way, I guess you know how to, at any time, check the value of the PATH variable: like so:

echo "$PATH"

How to make your change permanent so that your PATH will still be the same when you reopen a new terminal? It's very easy, you just need to edit your .bashrc file. Let's use the gedit editor: In a terminal, type this:

gedit ~/.bashrc

This opens up the gedit editor. Scroll to the end of the file and add this:

# Added by me on 2013/06/24
export PATH

and save the file and quit gedit. Then close your terminal and open a new one. Now your PATH variable should have ~/bin in front of it so that your commands in ~/bin will be accessible without typing their full path. And you know how to check that: echo "$PATH".


Warning. It is considered bad practice and a security vulnerability to put . in your PATH variable.