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Gnome reads ~/.profile upon login. When I change something in .profile (for example LC_MESSAGES) I want gnome to reread the .profile file without logging out and back in. In bash I can tell bash to source .profile. How can I do that for the running gnome session?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

I think it is not possible. The relevant script is /etc/gdm/Xsession. There quite at the top you'll find

# First read /etc/profile and .profile 
test -f /etc/profile && . /etc/profile
test -f "$HOME/.profile" && . "$HOME/.profile"

and after that (and sourcing other scripts, loading X resources etc) the desktop environment is started, inheriting the values of .profile just loaded. As there is no way to change the environment of running processes (if the process has no special functionality to import changed environment, but this is nothing you commonly find), you seem to be out of luck.

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Correct. You'll need to log out and back in, or launch every app from a terminal with an updated environment. –  Sandy Oct 11 '10 at 0:31
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