.BASH_PROFILE File Extension

A .BASH_PROFILE file is a Bash Interactive Login Shell File, created by The GNU Project.

Open with GNU Bash. Available for Linux and Mac.

What is a .BASH_PROFILE file?

The .BASH_PROFILE file is a special kind of file that helps set up the terminal environment on Mac OS X and Linux computers. Think of it as a list of instructions that the computer follows to get the terminal ready for use. This can include setting up shortcuts, deciding where the computer looks for programs, and customizing how the command prompt looks.

When you use a terminal program, like the Terminal on a Mac or GNU Bash on Linux, it can open and use the .BASH_PROFILE file. Some other programs that can open this file include Apple Terminal (which comes with Mac OS X) and MacroMates TextMate, a text editor.

Here's what happens with the .BASH_PROFILE file: Every time you log into your computer or open a new terminal window, the computer reads this file and sets up your terminal just the way you like it. This is different from another file called .BASHRC, which is only read when you're already in a terminal and start a new shell session inside it. However, many people make their .BASH_PROFILE file also load the .BASHRC file, so they don't miss any setup steps. They do this by adding a few lines of code to the .BASH_PROFILE file that tells it to also run the .BASHRC file if it exists.

One thing to remember is that the .BASH_PROFILE file is usually hidden in your home directory and doesn't have a name in front of the dot, just ".bash_profile". This means you won't see it just by looking through your files the normal way; you have to specifically look for hidden files or use terminal commands to find it.


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