Shell environment helper to setup environment variables. Inspired by virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper.
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A modular shell environment helper to manage your PATH and other environment variables.

Use pathify to setup an environment with a custom PATH so that you can run scripts without having to specify the path.

Or create a pathify environment with customised CFLAGS and LDFLAGS for a custom build environment.

Inspired by virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper.


Pathify works in bash and zsh.

git clone git:// .pathify

# Install for this shell session only
source ~/.pathify/pathify

# Install for all future bash sessions
echo "source ~/.pathify/pathify" >> ~/.bashrc
# (Some distros use ~/.bash_profile)
# echo "source ~/.pathify/pathify" >> ~/.bash_profile

# Install for all future zsh sessions
echo "source ~/.pathify/pathify" >> ~/.zshrc


Load a pathify environment

Load the example environment that came with pathify. (example just adds /sbin to your path)

pathify load example

Pathify comes with bash and zsh tab completion so you can type

pathify load <TAB>

to see a list of pathify environments you can use.

Also, as a shortcut you can omit the load command and pathify assume you are loading an environment.

pathify example

After you've activated the example, your prompt should show [example].

[example] user@host $

Since example added /sbin to your path, you can now run commands from /sbin without the full path.

Example: Without /sbin in your path, you would have to run /sbin/shutdown. But now that you are in the example pathify environment, you can call shutdown without its path. To show the shutdown help, run

shutdown -h

You can view all your environment variables by running


Unload an environment

Unload the example environment

pathify unload example

Pathify will remember your previous loads, so you can call unload without an argument to unload the last loaded environment

pathify unload

Pathify also comes with a shortcut unpathify which does the same thing as pathify unload

unpathify example

Create a new environment

We're going to create a new environment called fluffy (You can call your environment whatever you want as long as there are no spaces in the name.)

pathify new fluffy

You can also manually create a new environment by creating a file in the PATHIFY_HOME (~/.pathify) folder.

cd ~/.pathify
cp template fluffy
# Change variable names
sed -i -e 's/@env@/fluffy/g' -e 's/@ENV@/FLUFFY/g' fluffy
# Hack away
vim fluffy

Load your new environment

pathify fluffy

Unload fluffy

pathify unload fluffy

Edit an environment

Pathify comes with a edit command to edit an environment

pathify edit fluffy

You should set the environment variable $EDITOR to your preferred editor in your shell's config file, e.g. ~/.bashrc), or else pathify will open vim (the author's preferred editor)

export EDITOR="vim"

You can also manually edit an environment

vim ~/.pathify/fluffy

Setting the environment's PATH

Suppose we want to add "~/fluffy/bin" to the fluffy environment's PATH. Edit the fluffy environment and change the PATH= line to


Save and reload the environment

pathify reload fluffy

Setting other environment variables

There are two parts: setting the new value, and restoring the old value in the deactivation function.

For example, suppose we want to add a environment variable called HELLO_WORLD

Set the new value

After the PATH section, add some new lines to save the previous value of HELLO_WORLD and set the new value

export PATH


Restore old value in the deactivation function

In the deactivation function, add some lines after the PATH section to restore HELLO_WORLD to the old value

deactivate_fluffy () {
    # reset old environment variables
    if [ -n "$_OLD_FLUFFY_PATH" ] ; then
        export PATH
        unset _OLD_FLUFFY_PATH

    if [ -n "$_OLD_FLUFFY_HELLO_WORLD" ] ; then
        export HELLO_WORLD

Reload an environment

Use reload to unload and load an environment

pathify reload fluffy

This is equivalent to calling

pathify unload fluffy
pathify load fluffy

repathify is a shortcut for pathify reload. Either without any arguments will attempt to reload the last environment you loaded.

pathify unload


  • create a "add new environment variable" helper command
  • fix bash completion to complete commands?


GPL2 or later