22

I have a Debian Lenny server, and I would like the www-data user to have /usr/local/zend/bin in its PATH, so it can execute a script in cron as www-data.

How do I add /usr/local/zend/bin to PATH, so www-data can execuate files in /usr/local/zend/bin ?

38

The first place where PATH is set is /etc/login.defs. There's a setting for root and a setting for everyone else.

Another place where you can define environment variables is /etc/environment. These settings will apply to everyone (you can't write arbitrary shell code there).

A third place where you can define environment variables is /etc/profile. There you can write arbitrary shell code. If you want a user-specific setting, there is the corresponding per-user file ~www-data/.profile. But this will only apply to console interactive logins; in particular it won't apply to cron jobs unless they explicitly source /etc/profile.

If you only need that PATH setting in a user crontab, you can write it at the beginning of the crontab. Note that you need the full list (PATH=/usr/local/bin:/usr/bin:/bin:/usr/local/zend/bin), you can't use a variable substitution (PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/zend/bin won't work there).

  • ----how do you reload e.g. /etc/login.defs? – MrCalvin Apr 24 '17 at 18:20
  • @MrCalvin By logging in. – Gilles Apr 24 '17 at 19:40
  • Is there any reasons /etc/login.defs would be ignored? I've updated ENV_PATH and am echoing $PATH when .bashrc is loaded. Somewhere in the middle it's either being changed, or it's not updated as it's displaying the old value. I've restarted the computer - so it's not that. – Annan May 26 '17 at 16:04
  • @Annan Chances are that it's being changed somewhere. Do note that my answer was written in 2010, before systemd; if your system uses systemd, it may have its own way to define PATH in addition or in replacement of other ways. – Gilles May 26 '17 at 17:43
6

To set a path for all users except root, edit /etc/profile or /etc/enviroment. For root or an individual user edit their .bashrc or .bash_profile in their home directories, respectively. Add the PATH=$PATH:/new/location/.

0

To simply set var for all users while not burden your profile, you can add your own small script in /etc/profile.d directory like that:

echo 'PATH="/usr/local/zend/bin:$PATH"' > /etc/profile.d/zend_path.sh

Then relogin.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.