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Important Environment Variables in Linux

In Linux, environment variables serve to store information about the system environment and user preferences, affecting the behavior and properties of the system and applications running on it. Below are some essential environment variables in Linux, each serving a unique purpose in shaping user interaction and system functionality.

Table of Important Environment Variables​

DISPLAYSpecifies the display server, typically representing the X Window System server, used by applications for rendering GUI.
EDITORDefines the default text editor to be invoked when a system process requires text editing.
SHELLHolds the path to the user's preferred shell, invoked when opening terminal emulators or new shell sessions.
HOMERepresents the user’s home directory, the default directory upon login, and the location for user-specific configuration files.
LANGDetermines the system's locale, affecting language, currency symbol, and other regional settings.
OLDPWDStores the previous working directory before the last cd command, useful for switching back to the last directory.
PAGERSpecifies the default program for paginating output, typically less or more, to view text output one screen at a time.
PATHContains a list of directories where the shell looks for executable files, essential for running commands and scripts located in different directories.
PS1Defines the primary command prompt string, allowing users to configure the appearance and information displayed on their shell prompt.
PWDHolds the current working directory of the user, updated every time the user navigates to a different directory.
TERMSpecifies the type of terminal to emulate for the session, informing applications about the terminal's capabilities.
TZSets the time zone of the system, critical for accurate timekeeping across different geographies.
USERRepresents the username of the current user, used by system processes and applications to determine the executing user.


Understanding these environment variables provides insights into system configurations, user preferences, and session behaviors. They allow users to customize their interactions with the system and applications, ensuring a smooth and personalized user experience. By altering these variables thoughtfully, users can optimize the functionality and responsiveness of their Linux environment.

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