Cross-shell environment variables

Posted on 2002-04-22
Last Modified: 2008-03-17
Dear group,

Is there a way to set a certain environmental ($ENV) variable so that no matter what shell is started, by no matter which user, the variable is present.

More specifically, I want to set $ENV{'PERL5LIB'} to point to my program directory so that no matter where my programs are started from, no matter which user (including nobody and root), the proper directory will be included in @INC.

...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Any help is appreciated.

- Tonyboy
Question by:Tonyboy
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Peter Kwan
ID: 6960745
Add the following your /etc/profile (or equivalent "profile" file, depending on your linux distribution):

set PERL5LIB="value"
export PERL5LIB

or if your distribution supports setenv, use

setenv PERL5LIB "value"
export PERL5LIB

Please tell us if this does not work for you.

Author Comment

ID: 6960766
...but won't this simply add the PERL5LIB variable to the bash shell users? tcsh, csh and sh shell users don't source the /etc/profile file, as far as I know.
LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Peter Kwan
ID: 6960811
As far as i know, for sh users,  they are using /etc/profile.
For csh,tcsh users, they are using /etc/cshrc.login

If you have both, then you should edit both files.
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LVL 51

Accepted Solution

ahoffmann earned 100 total points
ID: 6962057
# in /etc/csh.cshrc (for csh, tcsh)
setenv PERL5LIB "value"

# in /etc/profile (for ash, bash, ksh, pdksh, sh, zsh, and much more)
set PERL5LIB="value"
export PERL5LIB
# keep in mind that bash might make trouble, 'cause there are dozent of ways where bash does not use /etc/profile at all

Author Comment

ID: 6962636
What about jobs run by cron? What about scripts run by Apache? Do these files get sourced when the shells are started by other programs?
LVL 51

Expert Comment

ID: 6964830
> What about jobs run by cron?
cron uses sh by default, so /etc/profile matches.
If the user uses another shell in her/his crontab, they need to source the appropriate scripts, but AFAIK the cannot cross the limits set by the parent shell (never checked it).

> What about scripts run by Apache?
Apache uses its own user (www, nobody), usually. So the same applies as for cron.

> .. shells are started by other programs?
Depends on the shell.
But i.g. you cannot cross the limits set by the parent.

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