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How Linux Works, 2nd Edition by Brian Ward

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Chapter 13. User Environments

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This book’s primary focus is on the Linux system that normally lies underneath 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, only touching them 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 lead to ...

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