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Unix .profile file

Posted on 2011-03-03
Last Modified: 2013-12-05
A colleague has advised me...
"In your .profile, define the following"

So, I need to find and open my .profile file.

I have CRT and Secure FTP access to the server from a Windows computer.

Using CRT, I can use VI as an editor (but I'm not so great at it).

Where is my .profile and how do I open it?


Question by:gswitz
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LVL 68

Accepted Solution

woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 35031355

its in your home directory.

There is a shell variable $HOME containing the path to your home directory, and there is also a shortcut "~".

So either use

vi $HOME/.profile


vi ~/.profile

LVL 68

Expert Comment

ID: 35031373
Here is a short "vi" tutorial:



Author Comment

ID: 35031759
I cannot see this file using the FTP Client. Is this typical?
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LVL 68

Expert Comment

ID: 35031837

this could be because it starts with a dot (kind of a hidden file).

What is your ftp client?

Anyway, on a terminal you should see it with

ls -la
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35032472
can you use ssh instead?
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35032482
you should see the file if you cd to your home dir and then issue "ls -al"

Expert Comment

ID: 35035974
It may be that you don't have one.  as most ftp clients should show dot files.
but if you issue the vi commands as woolmilk specified, even if it doesn't exist, it will created it.

If you are using an ftp client, and are downloading it to your windows box.. then you don't need VI.  just use notepad or whatever on Windows.

Now, critical here... IF YOU EDIT ON WINDOWS... ensure you transfer the file back and forth using the ASCII option (generally just type ascii at the ftp client command prompt, or in some transfer option window) within FTP otherwise you'll be opening more questions wondering why there's ^M characters in your file, and your settings in .profile don't work right.

LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35040527
And if you do see the ^M in the file on SCO you can use "dtox" to fix it.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 35040597
SCO's built in client won't show the "." files with a plain "dir", issuing "dir .profile" does show it.  And you can do get's and put's of "." files...

The profile that a user uses depends on the shell they use.  For instance, sh uses .profile, csh uses .cshrc, ksh uses .kshrc

You could look at /etc/passwd to see what shell the user is set to.  An example is mine set for ksh:



Author Closing Comment

ID: 35056166

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