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Re: Re (2): ~/.profile

peasthope@shaw.ca wrote:
> Another puzzle.  I have two Squeeze systems which are almost identical. 
> In both, my entry in /etc/passwd is the same and I added this line at 
> the end of ~/.profile.
> export EDITOR=vi

Because .profile is the "generic" shell side of things it is better to
use the generic

  export EDITOR

than to use the more compact but newer combined form.  If this were in
your ~/.bash_profile then the newer form is definitely safe because
only bash reads ~/.bash_profile.  But ~/.profile is the "lowest common
denominator" file for all Bourne-shell-like shells.  You might notice
that Debian's default file (/etc/skel/.profile) uses bash syntax
inside of an if statement checking for bash for just that reason.

> On one system "echo $EDITOR" confirms the setting.  On the other system 
> the setting is absent.  Where should I look to understand this?

How are you logging into these two different machines?

It is a long story but normally when logging in through a graphical
display manager such as xdm/gdm/gdm3/kdm/lightdm then in that case the
long story is that different distros do it differently and Debian
hasn't by default been invoking the shell as a login shell and
therefore when logging in this way the ~/.profile isn't sourced.  I
think it is a bug.  The topic gets discussed here every so often.  I
can't remember if this has been fixed recently or not and no time to
research it at this moment.


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