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I installed a few Ruby gems on a new install of Ubuntu 9.10, and after a few tries at running one, I realized that they failed because the PATH value did not contain their locations. SO I used the following command:

export PATH

When I would echo the PATH, I would see my change in there. But when I opened a new tab on the console, or restarted it, my changes are gone.

I'm not sure what is the problem. Can anyone shed some light on it please?

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the answer to this similar question should help:… .. see also… – quack quixote Mar 4 '10 at 13:03
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The commands you show alter the PATH for the command shell in which they are run. When you open a new console tab or terminal window, you start a new shell.

In order to alter your PATH for every shell instance, you need to put those two lines in your ~/.bashrc file so that they get executed every time you start a new shell.

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PATH=$PATH:/path/to/gem export PATH

That change environment only for child ptocess. Its good for testing.

For example


For permanent effect on current user, change in ~/.profile or ~/.bash_profile For system global effect change /etc/profile

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