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How to configure a program

Traditionally, there are 3 ways of configuring the behavior of a program:

  1. System wide configuration files
  2. User specific configuration files
  3. Compiling options

A few conventions about configuration files:

  • Configuration is stored in text files (as opposed to binaries or anything similar to the Windows registry).
  • System wide configuration files are located in /etc.
  • User specific configuration files are located in the user's home directory.
  • Configuration files have names ending with the suffix rc. Example: /etc/vimrc.
  • User specific configuration files are hidden by prefixing them with a dot (.). Example: ~/.bashrc.
  • Compiling options are only available at compile time and cannot be changed afterwards. On systems using binary package management, the package maintainer is in charge of selecting the appropriate options.

Further Reading

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