13 User Environments

This book’s primary focus is on the parts of the Linux system that normally underlie server processes and interactive user sessions. But eventually, the system and the user have to meet somewhere. Startup files play an important role at this point, because they set defaults for the shell and other interactive programs. They determine how the system behaves when a user logs in.

Most users don’t pay close attention to their startup files, touching them only when they want to add something for convenience, such as an alias. Over time, the files become cluttered with unnecessary environment variables and tests that can ...

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