I am new to Ubuntu (coming from Windows 7) and I am trying to add a directory to my system path and for some reason I can't get it to work. I am using Ubuntu version 12.04 LTS

I tried following this article without success How to add a directory to the PATH?

Here are my steps:

  1. In my home directory I am editing the .profile file.
  2. Under the “# set PATH so it includes user's private bin if it exists” section I added the following:

    if [ -d "$HOME/bin" ] ; then 
  3. I logout and log back in.

  4. open the terminal window and type in:

    vincent@ubuntu:~$ dev_appserver.py 
    dev_appserver.py: command not found

The directory and files are in the location. What am I doing wrong?

up vote 5 down vote accepted
  • The code in the if statement is only used if there's a directory $HOME/bin is a directory
  • I needs to be /home/vincent/google_appengine instead of home/vincent/google_appengine or (even better) $HOME/google_appengine because home is relative and /home is absolute.


export PATH="$PATH:$HOME/google_appengine"

Remember anything in the $PATH before google_appengine will override it.

  • That worked! Thanks for the answer! – Zaffiro Jun 9 '12 at 0:41

Add this line at the end of .profile(or not inside an if statement):

export PATH=$PATH:/home/vincent/google_appengine

Example .profile :



export LC_COLLATE="en_US.UTF-8"

export PATH=$PATH:/home/vincent/google_appengine
  • +1 Thanks pl1nk! I tried the accepted answer the first time and it worked. – Zaffiro Jun 9 '12 at 0:42
  • @Zaffiro - You are welcome, you were both posting at the same time :) – pl1nk Jun 9 '12 at 0:44

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