How do you set an environment variable on startup so that it can be used in applications?
ATOM_HOME is used by Atom.
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The solution uses two files:
environment.plist should be placed in
~/Library/LaunchAgents for a per user solution (recommended), or in
/Library/LaunchAgents for a global solution (not recommended – potential security loophole).
environment.conf can be placed almost anywhere.
$PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF can be relative, but only to the 'default' environment variables, or any that are defined in a
EnvironmentVariables key. 1
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd"> <plist version="1.0"> <dict> <key>Label</key> <string>local.launchd.environment</string> <key>ProgramArguments</key> <array> <string>sh</string> <string>-c</string> <string>xargs -L 1 launchctl < $PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF</string> </array> <key>RunAtLoad</key> <true/> </dict> </plist>
setenv ATOM_HOME $HOME/.config/atom setenv SOME_VAR "Use quotes if spaces are necessary"
When a user logs in, the LaunchAgents in
~/Library/LaunchAgents are executed. In this case,
sh -c xargs -L 1 launchctl < $PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF is executed.
launchctl manages daemons and agents. In this case, we are using it to set an environment variable accessible to all applications and the shell.
xargs -L 1 launchctl < $PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF xargs # xargs converts stdin to command line arguments xargs -L 1 # Tells xargs to invoke launchctl for each line launchctl # Run launchctl with the arguments < # Since a plist is an xml document, angle brackets must be escaped. < $PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF # This tells xargs to read input from the file at $PATH_TO_ENVIRONMENT_CONF
This solution can also be extended to other launchctl subcommands.