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Where Did My OSX Shell Aliases Go?

When it comes to *nix experience, I’m kind of an odd duck. You see, I’ve been using Linux quite a bit as a desktop since Mandrake Linux came out (1998?). Also, I learned a little bit about running a *nix server in the late 90s / early 2000s when I was a Java developer. That being said, I never really tried to develop on a *nix system until late 2010 when I bought a Macbook Pro to learn Ruby. I’m still playing catch-up in many ways when it comes to fundamentals.

I recently blew away my OSX Mountain Lion install and started from scratch. While I was setting things up again I thought to myself: “I should really create some aliases for show / hide hidden files, because I can never remember the exact syntax.” I did a bit of googling and learned that I should put my aliases in ~/.profile.

Things worked fine for a day or two until I set up my Ruby environment. Somewhere along the way my aliases stopped working. Part of setting up RVM is pathing the ruby environment in a bash config file such as ~/.bash_profile.

It turns out that .profile doesn’t get loaded in shell sessions if .bash_profile exists. D’oh!

What’s the difference between .profile and .bash_profile, and when do you configure which? (Mac)

When bash is invoked as an interactive login shell, or as a non-interactive
shell with the —login option, it first reads and executes commands from the file /etc/profile, if that file exists. After reading that file, it looks for ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bash_login, and ~/.profile, in that order, and reads and executes commands from the first one that exists and is readable. The —noprofile option may be used when the shell is started to inhibit this behavior.