Bash Environment Variables

The bash environment variables are commands that are simply expected to be there. As long as bash has the right pointers, it will fulfill your commands quickly. Take a look at the environment variables. At the shell prompt, type:


A long list of bash environment variables appears. Each one helps customize the environment for you.

The PATH environment variable defines what is known as the default path. The PATH environment variable for our account newuser might look something like this:


The PATH statement looks like a confusing jumble, but is actually a signpost which points to where programs can be found.

TipA PATH Standard

Remember the earlier reference to the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard (see the section called A Larger Picture of the Filesystem in Chapter 11)? The PATH statement is set according to that standard, and programs are installed in directories in accordance with the FHS as well. The result is that the PATH statement will enable bash to automatically find nearly any program, assuming it has been installed in accordance with the FHS.