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Old 05-29-2012, 03:26 PM   #1
d.spitler
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What is the purpose of the PATH variable?


What is the purpose of the PATH variable?
 
Old 05-29-2012, 03:32 PM   #2
Taylrl
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I'm more or less a total newbie myself but I am trying to use one so that I can run an executable from anywhere, a bit like how you might use gcc to compile something.

I am sure someone else can give a better, more thorough explanation though :-)
 
Old 05-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
towheedm
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When you issue a command to run an application, the system sequentially searches the directories specified in the PATH variable.

For example: If your PATH var contains '/usr/bin:/usr/local/bin:/bin and issue the command to run the test.sh script, the system would look for the test.sh script first in /usr/bin, then /usr/local/bin and finally /bin.

If runs the first instance of the file found. If after searching the directories specified in your PATH var, it does not find a test.sh file it issues the 'command not found' error message.

However, if your specify an absolute path for test.sh, it ignores all of the above and looks directly in the directory specified for the file. So entering:
Code:
/usr/bin/test.sh
would cause the system to look directly in /usr/bin for the test.sh file.

To run the test.sh script from the present working directory, use:
Code:
./test.sh

Last edited by towheedm; 05-29-2012 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Corrected errors as pointed out by 273.
 
Old 05-29-2012, 04:03 PM   #4
273
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Quote:
Originally Posted by towheedm View Post
When you issue a command to run an application, the system searches the present working directory for the app. If it is not found there, it then sequentially searches the directories specified in the PATH variable.

For example: If you are in your home directory ... the system would look for the test.sh script in your home directory.
Unless you have made some modifications to your system then this is not true under Linux/Unix. The current directory is not searched, often leading to confusion for people new to Linux/Unix.
 
Old 05-29-2012, 04:15 PM   #5
towheedm
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My mistake, you're correct. Not on my p's and q's.
 
Old 06-06-2012, 08:16 AM   #6
d.spitler
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Thank you for your responses that helps!!!
 
  


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