[nSLUG] Kubuntu

Daniel Morrison draker at gmail.com
Sun Aug 17 13:53:02 ADT 2008

2008/8/17 George N. White III <gnwiii at gmail.com>:
> The internet is full of bad or outdated advice.   One example is
> recipes for setting environment variables to work around some
> underlying configuration problem that has long since been resolved.

Definitely.  Quite commonly someone will work out some environment
variable solution to a problem, and then just 'stick it in ~/.profile'
or similar, setting those variables for everything.  This invariably
(haha) causes problems for other programs.

Better to write a wrapper to set the environment variables only for
the specific program that needs them. My example:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/firefox /usr/lib/firefox-bin &

sets the LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable only for firefox; it does not
persist in the shell.  Compare with:

/usr/lib/firefox-bin &

which leaves the variable set in the shell, to cause havoc.

> It is surprising how different two linux systems, or even two different
> user accounts on the same machine can become, even when
> they started out the same.

Yup.  Comparing Unix/Linux and Windows/MacOSX is fruitless in the end,
because the aims of these operating systems are completely different.
Windows and Mac try to train the user to accomplish tasks in the
approved manner. Unix gives you the power to choose what your
environment will be -- and so different users can create and
experience wildly different interfaces and setups, even if only in
different user accounts on the same system!  This makes user support
very difficult.  Windows users _could_ maybe remap all their mouse
buttons and keyboard shortcuts, but they generally don't. Sit down at
an unfamiliar window manager in Unix though, and it might be very
difficult to accomplish anything.


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