.bashrc and /etc/bashrc

What's the difference between /etc/bash.bashrc and ~/.bashrc?

  • I don't see /etc/bashrc anywhere. – mikewhatever Aug 21 '16 at 19:58
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    See bash's manpage section FILES. – Cyrus Aug 21 '16 at 19:58
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    @mikewhatever , you can find /etc/bash.bashrc . – Iliyas Mansons Aug 21 '16 at 20:12
  • @Cyrus I checked the man page FILES section and "bash.bashrc" doesn't appear there only "~/.bashrc" appears. Could you provide link to man page you were looking at? I was looking at Bash Man Page – WinEunuuchs2Unix Aug 21 '16 at 20:15
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    @Cyrus, I've found the answer from the link you've shared! – Iliyas Mansons Aug 21 '16 at 20:20

When bash initializes a non-login interactive bash shell on a Debian/Ubuntu-like system, the shell first reads /etc/bash.bashrc and then reads ~/.bashrc.

The reason that /etc/bash.bashrc does not appear in normal bash documentation (such as here or here) is that it is a feature added by Debian and adopted by Ubuntu. As Debian explains it (readme.debian):

  1. What is /etc/bash.bashrc? It doesn't seem to be documented.

    The Debian version of bash is compiled with a special option (-DSYS_BASHRC) that makes bash read /etc/bash.bashrc before ~/.bashrc for interactive non-login shells. So, on Debian systems, /etc/bash.bashrc is to ~/.bashrc as /etc/profile is to ~/.bash_profile.

Thus, /etc/bash.bashrc is documented in the Debian and Ubuntu man pages but not in man pages from other distributions that do not support this feature.


System wide initialization file /etc/bash.bashrc and the standard personal initialization file ~/.bashrc if the shell is interactivе.

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