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Setting up color ls


I have been look at the method of setting up color ls used by people and
I am convinced something is wrong with what is being recommended.  What
seems to be the normal method is to put the following line in ones
.bashrc and .bash_profile:

eval 'dircolors -b [file]'

alias ls='ls --color=auto'

where file can be omitted if one chooses to use the defaults.  The above
example also assumes that one is using bash shell.

What I am finding is that when eval 'dircolors -b' (I am want the
default colors for now) is executed it does not set my environment
variable LS_COLORS.  The alias command works but because I have not set
LS_COLORS the ls command only colors the directories.  

When I manually set my LS_COLORS variable (by copying dircolors output
to a xterm/rxvt term) and then check my LS_COLORS variable I find that
it is set.  Once this is done the ls command (ie alias ls --color=auto)
displays the full range of colors supplied in the dircolors compiled in
data base.

What is happening here?  Is eval the wrong command for executing
dircolors output on a command by command basis?

Any help is greatly appreciated.  


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