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EDIT: I just noticed that when I hit Enter on the ranger (if it is executed with terminator -e ranger) then nano opens while with e it uses my main editor. In contrast, when I use a normal shell to execute ranger and then I hit Enter, my main editor shows up. By normal, I mean if I launch firstly the terminator and then the ranger.

Why is it different?

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GNOME? I'm not GNOME user but isn't there possible to define somewhere in GNOME session variables? I'm putting some variable in my $HOME/.xinitrc ... – Jiri Xichtkniha Jun 1 '12 at 8:52
I use awesome as window manager. – Dimitris Leventeas Jun 1 '12 at 9:07
So what about $HOME/.xsession ? – Jiri Xichtkniha Jun 1 '12 at 9:32
How are you launching them? From the same terminal? From different terminals? From the menu? – Mikel Jun 1 '12 at 14:41
The equivalent of pressing Alt+F2 in Gnome/KDE. You could say from the launcher. – Dimitris Leventeas Jun 1 '12 at 16:44
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I saw your previous question , if you want some environment variable to be set before executing any programs , edit /etc/profile (provided you're using bash) , add everything you need. e.g export EDITOR=nano

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Thanks, I am not sure what is the problem, that is why I changed the question. Nevertheless, I have already in the ~/.bashrc file that EDITOR=subl. Should I export it? – Dimitris Leventeas Jun 1 '12 at 10:06
@DimitrisLeventeas yes , and you really should put this line in /etc/profile , if you insist to put this in ~/.bashrc , make sure it's the first line , depends on your bashrc , it might not be executed – warl0ck Jun 1 '12 at 11:57
/etc/profile is for all users. ~/.bashrc is the right location to change settings for a single user. – Mikel Jun 1 '12 at 14:41
@DimitrisLeventeas Remove the environment variable setting from .bashrc, put it in ~/.profile. – Gilles Jun 2 '12 at 0:32
@warl0ck Why /etc/profile? Everything that reads it also reads ~/.profile. In .bashrc, it wouldn't make any difference whether it's the first line or not. – Gilles Jun 2 '12 at 0:33

When you run terminator -e ranger, the terminal emulator starts the program ranger directly inside it. When you run terminator and then start ranger in the shell, the terminal emulator runs a shell which runs ranger. The main difference is that your shell's interactive initialization file is sourced (e.g. ~/.bashrc for bash, ~/.zshrc for zsh). If your shell rc file sets some environment variables, you'll get different results depending on whether a program was started through an interactive shell or not. Here, it looks like you're setting EDITOR or VISUAL in your .bashrc. If you don't, you get your system's default, which is nano.

The fix is to set environments variable where they should be set, i.e., in your session initialization file. On most setups, this is ~/.profile. Do not set environment variables in .bashrc, .zshrc or the like. See
Which setup files should be used for setting up environment variables with bash?
Difference between .bashrc and .bash_profile
Correctly setting environment

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Why not? .bashrc, etc are equally valid IMHO. That's how I do it anyway. If you run with the defaults of many terminal emulators, .bash_profile, etc are only for things you do once per login session, e.g. start ssh-agent, run ssh-add. My point is not to claim I know the One True Way, but to observe that blanket statements saying use .profile don't acknowledge that the alternative is also fine. – Mikel Jun 2 '12 at 3:07
@Mikel Please read the threads I link to in my answer. Setting environment variables is one of those once-per-session things, done in .profile (or .bash_profile or .zprofile or .login). Saying that .bashrc is equally valid doesn't acknowledge the numerous problems that it causes, one of which was the very source of this question. – Gilles Jun 2 '12 at 13:38
Oh, I see the point you're making. If your distribution's graphical login session ignores .profile and .bashrc, then putting environment variables in .bashrc can make a mismatched environment more likely. I'm coming from a different angle: I assume the graphical login session sources .profile (roughly speaking), and that .profile sources .bashrc (or similar). Neither of us has actually established that our assumptions hold in this case AFAICT. – Mikel Jun 2 '12 at 16:37

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