I'm trying to find the environment variables of a currently running process.

Let the executable be test. What I'm doing:

./test // first run test

Inside the program I have a print statement doing getpid() which prints out the current process's pid when the executable starts executing.

Then using the pid printed out to the console, I do,

strings /proc/<pid>/environ

Now, is there any other way to specify the pid without explicitly writing it out first?

I saw in one of the videos that they specify the pid with a command like this:

seed@ubuntu:~/test$ strings /proc/$$/environ | grep LOGNAME

I didn't understand it quite correctly. Assuming test as the executable, I tried:

seed@ubuntu: ./test$ strings /proc/\$\$/environ | grep LOGNAME

But it returns:

bash: /test$: No such file or directory

What am I doing wrong?

OS: Seed Ubuntu 16.04 (32 bit) running on Virtual Box GCC Version: 5.4.0

Link to video


In the terminal session transcript,

seed@ubuntu:~/test$ strings /proc/$$/environ | grep LOGNAME

the seed@ubuntu:~/test$ part is just the user's prompt string - the actual command is

strings /proc/$$/environ | grep LOGNAME

Here, $$ (without backslashes) is the PID of the shell, as described in the Special parameters section of man bash:

 $      Expands  to  the  process ID of the shell.  In a () subshell, it
          expands to the process ID of the current  shell,  not  the  sub‐

So this command returns the value of LOGNAME in the shell's environment - it's not really meant for examining the environment of a process invoked from the shell (although in general, the process will inherit the shell's environment).

Inside a C program, you can obtain the values of environment variables much more directly, using the getenv function:

GETENV(3)                  Linux Programmer's Manual                 GETENV(3)

       getenv, secure_getenv - get an environment variable

       #include <stdlib.h>

       char *getenv(const char *name);

So for example

#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>

int main(void)
  char *envval;

  if((envval = getenv("LOGNAME")) != NULL) {
    printf("Value of LOGNAME is: %s\n", envval);
  else {
    printf("LOGNAME not found in environment\n");

  return 0;

such that

$ gcc -o getenv_test getenv_test.c

$ LOGNAME=foo ./getenv_test 
Value of LOGNAME is: foo

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