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Once I upgraded to Maverick Ubuntu, bash shell in gnome-terminal starts by default at root rather than my home directory, this was easily fixable by adding a cd command in .bashrc. However, this is undesirable for two reasons:

  • when new tabs are created in gnome-terminal, .bashrc executes, and the folder is set to the home directory, rather than the folder I was working in previously.
  • more importantly, some (not all) applications other than the terminal are also starting at root. The Emacs open file feature and the open file dialog of my programming IDE look for files at root by default.

Is there some environment variable that is the cause of all this?

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Is your home directory set correctly in /etc/passwd? It should read something like:


So the field before the last colon should point to your home dir.

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Yes, that's exactly what I have – harsha Apr 12 '11 at 21:07

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