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When an interactive login shell starts, it automatically executes one or more pre-defined files. Different shells execute different files; see the documentation of each shell for further information.
Most shells first run some global file, for example, the
Bourne shell (/bin/sh) and its derivatives
/etc/profile; in addition,
.profile in the user's
/etc/profile allows the
system administrator to have set up a common user environment,
especially by setting the
PATH to include local
command directories in addition to the normal ones. On the other
.profile allows the user to customize
the environment to his own tastes by overriding, if necessary,
the default environment.