I'm trying to launch one command in a new gnome-terminal window from a shell script, and it seems that my .bashrc file doesn't get sourced when calling gnome-terminal and executing a command:

gnome-terminal -t "my title" -e vim

But it does when launching gnome-terminal alone:

gnome-terminal -t "my title"

(for testing purposes, just add a echo "something" to the end of the .bashrc)

I also tried explicitly sourcing the .bashrc before running vim with no success:

gnome-terminal -t "my title" -x $SHELL -c "source $HOME/.bashrc; vim"

Am I missing something?

2 Answers 2


No, your are correct. gnome-terminal does not source .bashrc when running a command via the -e argument.

Bash and gnome-terminal are two separate things. When you run without -e gnome-terminal runs your default shell (which happens to be bash). When you run with -e gnome-terminal runs the command you provided (bash is not loaded so .bashrc is not sourced).

Your last example will not work either. $HOME is a variable in bash and not available. In addition source is a bash command, and vim likely needs a path.

The best way to do this, in my opinion is to make a wrapper script.

In your path somewhere (I added ~/.bin/ to my path) create a file called vim-x and set it executable.

source $HOME/.bashrc
vim "$@"

Then you can run:

gnome-terminal -t "my title" -e /home/user/.bin/vim-x

  • Thanks for your reply. I tried this approach and it still doesn't work (no echo "something" in the new gnome-terminal window)
    – el.atomo
    Nov 21, 2012 at 13:10

I found the problem with the help of this reply.

Actually the .bashrc was sourced, but not completely processed because of the following lines:

# If not running interactively, don't do anything
[ -z "$PS1" ] && return

To bypass the problem, the cleanest approach would be to force the shell instance to be run in interactive mode (as seen here):

gnome-terminal -t "my title" -x $SHELL -ic "vim"
  • careful that will break things user wide.
    – coteyr
    Nov 21, 2012 at 13:45
  • Glad you got it working.
    – coteyr
    Nov 21, 2012 at 14:10

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