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What are PATH and other environment variables, and how can I set or use them?

I've just followed this article (http://mac.tutsplus.com/tutorials/server/upgrading-the-native-php-installation-on-os-x-mountain-lion/) to update my php installation using HomeBrew. The latest php version is indeed installed in /usr/local/bin The problem is that my $PATH variable is the following (doing an echo $PATH reveals it) :


...so the old version of php (that comes with mountain lion) always run first

Any ideas on how to solve this? Thank you.

marked as duplicate by slhck Oct 10 '12 at 21:25

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  • I have seen these links already but they don't answer my specific need.I don't want just to add a path to the $PATH variable.I want to know if I can change the order of the paths in the variable and if this action can harm the stability of my system. – skiabox Oct 10 '12 at 21:48
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    You can simply add the path again, before the rest, in your bash profile. Changing it system-wide wouldn't be necessary. – slhck Oct 11 '12 at 13:21

Create ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist as described here, if it doesn't already exist. Open the file in Plist Editor and add a variable PATH with a value /usr/local/bin:$PATH. Log off and back on so that the changes become effective.

  • There's no need to change the environment.plist just to change the path for shells. Editing .bash_profile is enough here. There's no Plist Editor by default on OS X, by the way. – slhck Oct 10 '12 at 21:24

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