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 Reserved variables

The following table gives an overview of the most common predefined variables:

Table 7-1. Common environment variables

Variable name Stored information
DISPLAY used by the X Window system to identify the display server
DOMAIN domain name
EDITOR stores your favorite line editor
HISTSIZE size of the shell history file in number of lines
HOME path to your home directory
HOSTNAME local host name
INPUTRC location of definition file for input devices such as keyboard
LANG preferred language
LD_LIBRARY_PATH paths to search for libraries
LOGNAME login name
MAIL location of your incoming mail folder
MANPATH paths to search for man pages
OS string describing the operating system
OSTYPE more information about version etc.
PAGER used by programs like man which need to know what to do in case output is more than one terminal window.
PATH search paths for commands
PS1 primary prompt
PS2 secondary prompt
PWD present working directory
SHELL current shell
TERM terminal type
UID user ID
USER(NAME) user name
VISUAL your favorite full-screen editor
XENVIRONMENT location of your personal settings for X behavior
XFILESEARCHPATH paths to search for graphical libraries

A lot of variables are not only predefined but also preset, using configuration files. We discuss these in the next section.

Introducing Linux
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