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Cross-shell environment variables

Posted on 2002-04-22
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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.

Thanks,
- Tonyboy
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Question by:Tonyboy
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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.
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Author Comment

by:Tonyboy
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.
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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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Accepted Solution

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ahoffmann earned 400 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
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Author Comment

by:Tonyboy
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?
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Expert Comment

by:ahoffmann
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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