Some manifestations of this problem: macports won't install, MATLAB won't run, BTT works but incessantly spams me with " not found" popups, and emacs shell does not work.

My interactive shell PATH is fine, so this is my '/etc/paths' file: /usr/bin /bin /usr/sbin /sbin /usr/local/bin /Users/sambo/bin

where that last one is my own personal scripts. Could I have damaged it just from appending? Anyways, that's problem and help would be appreciated.

EDIT: With echo -e ${PATH//:/\\n}, I get



  1. is it OK for these ruby bins to be upstream of the system bins?
  2. could that junk cause any trouble?
  • In terminal, issue an echo $PATH and report back
    – Dustin
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 2:51
  • 2
    The â after /usr/texbin looks kind of fishy.
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 7:54
  • And: what happens if you try to run uname directly at the shell prompt? If it fails, please copy/paste the whole error message.
    – nohillside
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 7:54
  • All the "not found" commands work. My shell PATH is fine. How do I go about r the removing from PATH? I don't know where that "â" junk came from.
    – user13004
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 19:29
  • For example, when I launch Emacs from the terminal (an interactive shell), I can use "M-x shell". When I launch Emacs from the dock (which spawns process from some other shell), I cannot. Thus, how do I change the environment of the shell that is called by the dock?
    – user13026
    Commented Oct 31, 2011 at 5:57

1 Answer 1


Your question is unclear as it seems to ask several things. However the issue re launching from the Dock can be answered.

The Dock does not call a shell. .profile and other startup scripts are only run when Terminal.app or similar starts a shell or you run a shell script via launchd etc.

To change the path used for Apps launched from the Dock, Finder or other GUI then you need to change the path your Workspace uses this is in ~/.MacOSX/environment.plist e.g. mine is

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">


Also have a look at this question.

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