25 Jul 2007

Less typing with enviroment variable CDPATH

The BASH shell has several environment variables that can be manipulated. The PATH variable is well known. Another useful variable is CDPATH. As PATH is a list of search paths for commands, so is CDPATH a list of directories used as search path for the "cd" command.

Example: At one ftp server we serve a lot of software, including several of the most popular Linux distributions. The local path to these distributions involves a lot of typing:

  larsks@spheniscus:~$ cd /usit/spheniscus/ftp/linux/

From here, I can jump into "slackware/", "centos/", "debian/" and so on. But it's simpler when using CDPATH:

  larsks@spheniscus:~$ export CDPATH="/usit/spheniscus/ftp/linux"
  larsks@spheniscus:~$ cd slackware

Nice huh?

An even lazier method (involving less typing) is to use alias:

  larsks@spheniscus:~$ alias s="cd /usit/spheniscus/ftp/linux/slackware"
  larsks@spheniscus:~$ s

But then I have to create one alias for each directory. Oh the choices!

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