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Old 12-08-2005, 07:38 PM   #1
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Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 13

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Post Need help setting environment variables via shell script


I am trying to use a shell script to set a bunch of environment variables. However, while the environment variables seem to be set during the life of the shell script, they does not persist in the environment once the script completes, even if I export the variables.

To test, I create a simple shell script (named

export TEST

Next, I run change the permissions:

chmod uog+x

Finally, I run the script:


After the script executes, I use the following command to see if the "TEST" variable is set:

set | grep -i "TEST"

Which returns nothing.

Can somebody tell me why TEST isn't set after the script is run, and more importantly, how to get it to stay set after the script completes? Typing "export TEST=test" at the command prompt works fine, and defining and exporting the variables in /etc/profile or .bash_profile works fine as well. However, I don't want to modify the bash profile; I have a bunch of variables that need to be initialized for a particular application, and I'd like to be able to do it with a shell script.

If it makes any difference I am running Fedora Core 3 and am logged in as root.

Thanks in advance,
Old 12-08-2005, 07:45 PM   #2
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Registered: Dec 2005
Posts: 13

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Sorry to waste your time. Once I posted my thread, I found other similar threads which answered my question. By using "." my problems are solved; being new to Linux I did not realize a new shell was being executed.

Old 12-08-2005, 07:58 PM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Canada
Distribution: CentOS 5.5, Ubuntu 10.04, Linux Mint 11 gnome 64 bit
Posts: 336

Rep: Reputation: 36
Hey Steve,
Ask away.
Do you know about .bash_profile. (If you are running bourne shell... or whatever the equivalent is in the others...)

Ok. a dot file is hidden .whatever,
so you have to do an ls -la from a terminal to see it.

Find out what loads at your particular login and edit it.
# .bash_profile

# Get the aliases and functions
if [ -f ~/.bashrc ]; then
. ~/.bashrc

# User specific environment and startup programs


export TEST



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