Please no: [OS X TeX] set environment variables forapplications
franconi at inf.unibz.it
Tue May 25 17:30:39 EDT 2004
On 25 May 2004, at 22:29, Gerben Wierda wrote:
>> Even if it were possible to set it per application, I would prefer
>> setting $PATH for them generally. Otherwise, it would be difficult to
>> keep the consistency.
> Yes. But suppose you add /sw/bin to the start of your PATH and as a
> result a different version of a command is used and your application
> which uses a subprocess that now suddenly fails. And how do you know
(This is a bad example. Either you do have fink (and therefore the
/sw/bin path), and then this is what it should be done to let it work
properly, or you do not have fink, and then there is no effect
whatsoever. But this is not the real point.)
The PATH variable (like ANY environment variable) is a global setting,
that all applications use, but the GUI applications launched with a
double click or more generally launched not from a shell. In fact, try
to launch your favourite GUI application from the command line with a
"open -a APPNAME", et voila', the GUI application inherits ALL the
shell variables, including the PATH variable. You can also write a
simple applescript (I did it for the first releases of mac-emacs, which
did not need any environment.plist to work properly) that wraps the
launch of a GUI app with a double click within a shell invocation, so
that the GUI app inherits for free all the shell environemnt variables.
So, your insisting that "unix" applications are different from GUI apps
for historical reasons and therefore they are allowed to use global
environment variables (unlike GUI apps) is simply wrong. On the mac
(like on KDE or Gnome), all applications (including GUI applications)
are unix applications. In any GUI environment in the unix world
(including the mac), the effect of launching an application not from a
shell is the same: variables peculiar to the execution of the shell are
not inherited, simply because the shell is NOT executed before the GUI
app; you have to execute it explicitly if you want the environment to
Of course, people may harm applications also from the command line by
changing the PATH global variable or any other environment variable.
Since this global mechanism exists, it has to be used with caution in
any case. But the GUI apps do not make any difference in this respect.
So, please, allow people to use the environment.plist provided as an
option by some developer, exactly like we allow you to optionally hack
the main environment variables.
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