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Today I had to configure a new macbook, running 10.10.3 out of the box and immediately upgraded to 10.10.4.

After installing homebrew I went to configure the default PATH, and opened /etc/paths.

I found that it contained:

/usr/local/bin
/usr/bin
/bin
/usr/sbin
/sbin

that is, /usr/local/bin is at the top. This is not what I was expecting, and what I know should be the default.

Has the default changed? I reviewed the Homebrew installation script, and it doesn't seem to change /etc/paths. I also stat'ed the file, and it doesn't seem to have been changed.

So, is this the new default PATH order in OS X?

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My /etc/paths has the same content on 10.10.4 and has a timestamp of "Sep 9 2014" so it has been like that for quite some time now.

Basically it makes sense to place /usr/local/bin on top because that way binaries installed locally take precedence over the standard versions.

  • Thank you, the timestamp on that new macbook is the same as yours. Yes, I know it makes sense, but the old default was to have /usr/local/bin at the bottom of the list, and in fact I'm used to manually modify /etc/paths on new macs for this reason. – tompave Jul 10 '15 at 18:56

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