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Re: /etc/profile no longer used

Vineet Kumar wrote:
> Kevin McKinley wrote:
> > Bob Proulx wrote:
> > > Really?  Can someone point me to documentation or standards which
> > > describes the use and behavior of /etc/environment?
> > 
> > /etc/environment seems to be an AIXism that's migrating to
> > Linux. Googling on "/etc/environment" will get you links to user
> > information at universities with AIX systems.

Let me admit to being somewhat of a troll.  I am actually familiar
with AIX and use of /etc/environment there.  Programs that grew up on
AIX support it.  Some others that have been ported to it support as
well.  But few others even know about it and why should they?  It is
an AIX only construct which has propagated to a small extent beyond it
but only to a very small extent.  It can't even claim to be a defacto
standard.  But if someone could point me to any standards work that
referenced it I was certainly interested in being educated if any such
material existed.

> Specifically, it looks like it's used by the pam_env module.  [...]
> The only mention I found regarding debian policy was a note from 1999
> saying "we have no policy for /etc/environment, and we should."

The /etc/environment file is one of those things that people often
quote as the place to do something like set environment variables
without realizing its state of quasi-existence.  But it is not a
traditional UNIX place to set environment variables and so generally
there is no widespread acceptance of it and no standards that say
anyone even should.

There is almost no documentation on it.  The format of the file is
almost completely guesswork.  There are no standard methods to load
data from it.  All of those things would make me too nervous to
actually use it.  I would not recommend anyone use /etc/environment at
this time when it is in such a poor state of documentation, with such
a lack of standardization and with such a low amount of general


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