proper place to set environment variables?

John Gabriele jgabriele at
Tue May 13 02:26:02 CEST 2014

On Mon, May 12, 2014, at 11:34 AM, Chris Green wrote:
> On Mon, May 12, 2014 at 11:09:40AM -0700, John Gabriele wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I'm running as my desktop a stock Debian "Testing" (which is currently
> > aliased to "jessie") system with Xfce 4.10, and log in graphically via
> > LightDM.
> > 
> > Where is the proper location to set environment variables? That is, I
> > tried doing so in ~/.profile, but that file does not appear to be
> > sourced when logging into the desktop (I think it may when logging in
> > via text console though).
> > 
> Things put into .profile *should* be there when you run the desktop.
> You need to export them though,

I did export them, though it still fails. Did another quick test; in my
~/.profile, added:

    export FOOBAR="hello"

then logged out, logged in, and tried

    echo $FOOBAR

and get nothing. So, it doesn't look like ~/.profile is getting sourced.

I then tried something else, which I found after more searching around:
I tried creating a ~/.xsessionrc, then put this in it:

    export PATH=$HOME/bin:$HOME/.cabal/bin:$PATH
    export TERM=xterm-256color

logout, login, and then found that `echo $PATH` shows the expected PATH
(with ~/bin and ~/.cabal/bin in it), but `echo $TERM` returns just
"xterm". (?!)

-- John

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