Display or print UNIX / Linux path ~ $PATH variable

Posted on in Categories , , , , , , , , last updated September 11, 2007

Q. How do I print current path settings under BASH shell? I’m using Debian Linux.

A. In UNIX / Linux file systems, the human-readable address of a resource is defined by PATH. On Unix / Linux like operating systems, (as well as on DOS / Windows and its descendants), PATH is an environment variable listing a set of paths to directories where executables may be found.

Display current PATH

Use echo command:
$ echo $PATH


Modify current PATH

Use export command to add /opt/games to PATH, enter:
export PATH=$PATH:/opt/games

To format your PATH variable for easy viewing, add following code to your bash startup file (such as ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile) :

function path(){
    printf "%s\n" $PATH

(Function credit: usenet archive)

Now just run path:
$ path


Change default Linux / UNIX text editor from VI to Pico

Posted on in Categories , , , , , , , , , last updated August 30, 2007

Q. I find vi hard to use. How do I change my default text editor from vim / vi to Pico under Debian Linux?

A. To use and change an editor to edit your text message, set the variable EDITOR to the pathname of the vi / vim binary file. You need to use export or set command for the same purpose.

Many Linux / UNIX command read shell EDITOR environment variable to determine which editor to use for editing a text file.

Set default text editor to pico

Type the command as follows:
$ which pico


Now setup a new text editor:
export EDITOR=/usr/bin/pico
export EDITOR=pico

Add above line to ~/.bashrc file:
$ vi ~/.bashrc
Append text as follows:
export EDITOR=pico
Close and save the file. There is no no need to reboot system.

Also you can add alias if you want:
alias vi=/usr/bin/pico