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The code in .bashrc does not execute when I open a new terminal window in Ubuntu 12.04. I noticed this when creating a .bash_aliases file. The aliases did not show up when I opened a new terminal. However when I type source .bashrc the aliases did show up.

.bashrc should be run everytime I open a new terminal window right?

How do I make this happen?

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Try .profile instead. –  jippie Jul 8 '12 at 18:22
@jippie No, .profile is read at login time, not when you open a new terminal, unless there's a misconfiguration somewhere. Selah: did you change anything from the default configuration? Please run ps -o command $$ $PPID in a terminal and copy-paste the output. –  Gilles Jul 8 '12 at 18:50
Just to make positive sure, you are putting .bashrc in your home folder, right? –  Jacob Johan Edwards Aug 5 '12 at 8:08
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2 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

It isn't necessarily run; at the top of the standard .bashrc is this comment:

# ~/.bashrc: executed by bash(1) for non-login shells.
# see /usr/share/doc/bash/examples/startup-files (in the package bash-doc)
# for examples

I believe there is an option to run bash terminal as a login shell or not. With Ubuntu, gnome-terminal does not normally run as a login shell, so .bashrc should be run directly.

For login shells (like the virtual terminals), normally the file ~/.profile is run, unless you have either ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login, but they are not there by default. By default, Ubuntu uses only .profile.

The standard ~/.profile has this in it:

if [ -n "$BASH_VERSION" ]; then
    # include .bashrc if it exists
    if [ -f "$HOME/.bashrc" ]; then
        . "$HOME/.bashrc"

This runs .bashrc if it is available - assuming $BASH_VERSION is present in your environment. You can check for this by entering the command echo $BASH_VERSION, and it should display some information on version number - it should not be blank.

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After understanding these instructions, I went in my terminal application I went to edit -> profile preferences -> Title and Command -> Run command as a login shell. I unchecked this. Thanks for the help. –  Selah Oct 8 '12 at 16:36
Can you clarify when .profile (hence .bashrc) is loaded/read? It seems this is done when the users logs in to their desktop session. The answer suggests this occurs when you start a new terminal/shell session "For login shells (like the virtual terminals), normally the file ~/.profile is run... " –  hedgehog Jan 7 '13 at 4:48
It is normally run when you start a new login shell (not really desktop session, because you can run a new login shell from the desktop session). As I said, it is run by default, but not if you have created ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login. You can test by checking or unchecking the checkbox in Edit -> Profile Preferences -> Title and Command -> "Run command as a login shell, and exit then rerun the terminal. You could echo something from .profile to test. –  Marty Fried Jan 7 '13 at 21:23
@Selah Your comment helped me more then the actual answer ;) thanks a lot for making the comment! –  Aleks Jan 14 at 12:18
So if you have created ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login on your system and want to keep them, but still want ~/.profile and from there ~/.bashrc executed, you can source it from your own ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login with a line containing source "$HOME/.profile". Gives you back the colored output of ls also in login shells! –  tanius Mar 2 at 11:40
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If $BASH_VERSION is not set, try using the chsh command to set your shell to /bin/bash.

I had a similar issue with 12.04 LTS, and it turned out the new user account had the default shell set to /bin/sh, which was the cause of the problem.

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