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Development Tools Console Foundations Environment and Redirection Environment Variables

Sam Purcell
Sam Purcell
2,121 Points

Why does /home/treehouse/bin still show up in the path when we close the tab or even exit the console and reload?

I thought the point of adding the export into the .bashrc file was so this would happen because it isn't saved anywhere when we just do it from the command line?

1 Answer

Nathan Williams
seal-mask
.a{fill-rule:evenodd;}techdegree
Nathan Williams
Python Web Development Techdegree Student 6,851 Points

good question, Sam. To understand what's happening here, you have to know a little bit about how the bash environment works, and how workspaces works on the backend.

Commands in your ~/.bashrc are evaluated like a normal bash command you might put in a shell script. "export" is what's called a "shell builtin", (so is "cd". you can tell the difference by running "type $command" at a shell prompt) which just takes a variable, and makes it available to other programs. You can see this with the "env" program, which dumps the environment to stdout.

[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ var=val
[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ env | grep ^var
[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ echo $var
val
[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ export var=val
[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ env | grep ^var
var=val
[nathwill@wyrd ~]$ echo $var
val

so, export makes an environment variable available to other programs. this is nice if you want to, say, have your $PATH inherited by any programs you run. to permanently add something to your shell sessions, it's common to add these types of commands to a file that gets sourced when the session starts, like ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile.

workspaces is a bit of a special case though, because the entire environment is reset after every launch, with only your files under ~/.local, and ~/workspaces being persisted between workspace sessions. You can see this because if you add something to your ~/.bashrc, close out the workspace and wait about 15 minutes to relaunch it (there's an idle timeout before the workspace is reaped), whatever you added to the ~/.bashrc will not be there in the new session.

hope that helps!

Sam Purcell
Sam Purcell
2,121 Points

Very helpful, thanks Nathan!