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3.3.3.2. Which

A very simple way of looking up files is using the which command, to look in the directories listed in the user's search path for the required file. Of course, since the search path contains only paths to directories containing executable programs, which doesn't work for ordinary files. The which command is useful when troubleshooting "Command not Found" problems. In the example below, user tina can't use the acroread program, while her colleague has no troubles whatsoever on the same system. The problem is similar to the PATH problem in the previous part: Tina's colleague tells her that he can see the required program in /opt/acroread/bin, but this directory is not in her path:


tina:~> which acroread
/usr/bin/which: no acroread in (/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/bin/X11)

The problem can be solved by giving the full path to the command to run, or by re-exporting the content of the PATH variable:


tina:~> export PATH=$PATH:/opt/acroread/bin

tina:~> echo $PATH
/bin:/usr/bin:/usr/bin/X11:/opt/acroread/bin

Using the which command also checks to see if a command is an alias for another command:


gerrit:~> which -a ls
ls is aliased to `ls -F --color=auto'
ls is /bin/ls

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