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I'm trying to install an extension for GeoServer. The instructions say:

Create a GDAL_DATA environment variable to the folder where you have extracted this file. Make also sure that this directory is reachable and readable by the application server process’s user.

and later (for a different file):

If you are on Linux, be sure to set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable to refer to the folder where the SOs are extracted.

I'm not sure where to set these variables. In /etc/init.d/tomcat7 perhaps?

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Yes, this did work, using export:

PATH=/bin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/usr/sbin
export GDAL_DATA=/mnt/gdal/gdal-data
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/mnt/gdal
NAME=tomcat7
DESC="Tomcat servlet engine"
....

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