Originally Posted by hpladd
could I have done something the following?
You could, but it makes sense to have some system wide default content of the PATH variable (coming from /etc/profile for example) and add some custom settings on a per user basis as explained here.
Edit: Although the system wide settings would probably seem appropriate for Qt binaries. There might be some extra file for customized system wide settings, I don't know which file that is in Red Hat. Here it's /etc/profile.local, but then SUSE also uses ~/.profile instead of ~/.bash_profile, maybe someone else can help.