Just installed Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS.

According to .profile,

# ~/.profile: executed by the command interpreter for login shells. 
# This file is not read by bash, if ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login exists.

There is no ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_login.

It does not seem to source .profile when opening a terminal.

  1. Why doesn't it source .profile when opening a terminal?
  2. Why is .profile there if it is not sourced?
  3. How do I know/control what is sourced when a new terminal is opened?
  4. When a new terminal is opened, does it do a "login"?
  5. Where is a good place to add $HOME/bin to my path? .bashrc? Will that cause a problem because .profile has the same code?

2 Answers 2

  1. Because terminals don't usually run login shells by default. They also usually have options to run login shells, which do source .profile.
  2. To control the behaviour of login shells.
  3. Depends on the shell. For bash, see the set of startup files.
  4. Not in some sense (updating login records, for example).
  5. If you have a folder called bin in $HOME, the default .profile for Ubuntu does add it to your PATH. Since .profile is sourced at login (even with a GUI login), it should be part of your PATH for non-login shells started after a re-login. It isn't wrong if a directory appears twice in PATH, see this U&L question for details.
  • 6
    OK, now it makes sense. Need to re-login to the GUI to see changes to the .profile.
    – B Seven
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 22:34
  • 2
    @BSeven you can always source it manually for each command-line shell: . .profile or source .profile.
    – muru
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 22:34
  • . .profile is cool and I have never seen it before. Couldn't find much info about the period command. Can you provide a reference and links to any other useful shortcuts? Thank you!
    – B Seven
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 22:39
  • 2
    @BSeven for shell commands like . or source, you can use help: help ., for example. In general, see the TLDP Bash Beginner's Guide, Chapter 3. The Bash Beginner's Guide is somewhat dated in some places, but good for a starting point. Or see other links in one of my other answers.
    – muru
    Commented Dec 28, 2014 at 22:44
  • 3
    @NiklasR askubuntu.com/a/598072/158442
    – muru
    Commented Aug 23, 2017 at 12:44

I found I had to edit the Default profile. In the terminal, click Preferences > Profiles > Edit > Command > Run command as login shell

Afterwards new terminals would source .profile script.

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  • 5
    IIUC this is a hack because normally .profile is supposed to have been sourced before starting the GUI terminal and it's redundant to source it again each time you spawn a terminal window.
    – Mu Mind
    Commented Aug 27, 2019 at 21:32
  • It isn't a hack, but it could be redundant if, for example, your login profile starts up an initial of instance of some various GUI programs, and so forth. But if you want - for instance - vi editing to be enabled every time you open a shell, you may have to use this option, making the shell read it's profile files.
    – Mei
    Commented Mar 29, 2021 at 18:07

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