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How you can use environment variables? – Guide
How many times have you installed something on Linux, only to find that you need to set certain environment variables before the installation works? For me, this happens all the time.
But what are these environment variables and how do you define them? Let’s dive in and find out.
The first thing you should know is what environment variables are. Simply put, environment variables are a set of dynamic named values stored in the system that are used by applications. These variables allow you to customize how specific applications and services behave with the system. Each variable contains a name and an associated value. Usually the name is in UPPERCASE and the values are, of course, case sensitive.
Say, for example, you install the Go language on Linux. Due to the way Go is installed, you must tell the system where the executable binaries are stored. Most of the time, these files will be found in /usr/local/go/bin. But if you just download and unzip Go to / usr / local / go, your system (and the bash shell) won’t know these files are there. To fix this, you must set an environment variable.
Obviously, you could just add /usr/local/go/bin to your $PATH, which is the traditional way to solve this problem. But let’s say you want to do this temporarily. You can set and then remove the environment variable. First, let’s set GO_PATH to /usr/local/go/bin. To do this we use the export command as in export GO_PATH = / usr / local / go / bin. Issue the command echo $GO_PATH and you will see that /usr/local/go/bin has been set successfully.
Now, if you want to use the path to Go in a script, you can enter $GO_PATH instead of /usr/local/go/bin. This new variable is available system-wide and is inherited by all generated child processes and shells. To unset this environment variable, you must issue the unset GO_PATH command.
You can also list all your currently defined environment variables with the command set, which will list a ton of variables.
environment variables are very useful for use in scripts and sometimes need to be set manually when installing certain software. Start using them now to make Linux and the Linux command line even more efficient.
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