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Environmental variables in Unix

What are environmental variables in Unix?

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Environment variables in Unix and Linux are used to establish your current working session. Normally these variables are put in your .profile, though you can also put these into your current shell by exporting the variable. Global variables that you want all users to have should be put in /etc/profile. Many programs, such as Oracle, look for certain variables to be set -- and need certain directories in their path ($PATH). Without a properly configured .profile, your application will not start.

"env" is a command that you would use to see your current environment variables.

This was first published in August 2005

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