I'm a relatively new user to Linux, so bear with me. I'm currently taking on the Linux From Scratch project, and I have reached a point where it calls for opening a new terminal with certain environment variables. The entire book is intended to be performed in command-line mode, which I am able to access with Ctrl+Alt+f1 (or f2 or f3 or...), but primarily for comfort I prefer to use a terminal window.

The book, in chapter II, section 4.4, calls for the reader to create a ~/.bash_profile with only one command: exec env -i HOME=$HOME TERM=$TERM PS1='\u:\w\$ ' /bin/bash, which "ensures that no unwanted and potentially hazardous environment variables from the host system leak into the build environment". I've added to the command a dummy variable Q to ensure that it is functioning properly.

When running Ubuntu in a virtual command line, the script is read as expected, and I have the new terminal with the variables initialized. However, I don't get this behavior if I open a terminal window through the GUI.

Is there any way to open a GNOME Terminal with specific environment variables like what is done by the above exec for the Linux console?

  • add the export into ~/.bashrc and close and reopen the terminal window. and the corresponding ~/bash_profileis called in ubuntu ~/.profile
    – Videonauth
    Apr 22, 2016 at 3:31
  • @Videonauth Hm. Why is it that when I have no ~/.bashrc, env still outputs a lot of environment variables? Apr 22, 2016 at 3:40
  • because of /etc/bash.bashrc file
    – Videonauth
    Apr 22, 2016 at 3:48
  • @Videonauth is there a way to make the GNOME terminal for a specific user ignore /etc/bash.bashrc? Apr 22, 2016 at 3:52
  • Yes, make a backup of your bashrc file in your home folder and make an empty one. an empty .profile aswell overrides the default
    – Videonauth
    Apr 22, 2016 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


If I understand your question correctly, what you want is having gnome-terminal behave like a virtual console as far as rc scripts are concerned.

That should be achieved by configuring it to run the shell as a login one.

Edit → Profile Preferences → Title and Command → Run command as login shell

  • Thanks much - This did exactly as I expected, once the new profile was set to be the profile opened with. However- the PS1 variable isn't getting set as expected either here or in virtual console mode. Do you happen to know why? Apr 22, 2016 at 15:40
  • What does it look like ?
    – jlliagre
    Apr 22, 2016 at 15:46
  • When I enter the terminal the PS1 variable is the standard. ${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\$ Apr 22, 2016 at 15:48
  • Never mind, I managed to fix it by setting the variable in ~/.bashrc Apr 22, 2016 at 16:00
  • Great. Looking to that file would have been my next suggestion.
    – jlliagre
    Apr 22, 2016 at 16:05

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .