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I need to run multiple sets of environments. For this, I have two sets of bashrc files, bashrc_a and bashrc_b. On startup, I made bashrc_a running by making .bashrc as

source bashrc_a

From bashrc_a environment, I need to switch to bashrc_b, but I don't want to involve any environment variables from bashrc_a remain in the bashrc_b environment. For this, I tried

env -i bash --rcfile bashrc_b

But the problem is, in this case, I lose all environment variables, not just those from bashrc_a. I have no HOME, I have no PATH, and so on.

Another thing I tried is

env -i bash --login --rcfile bashrc_b

But if I do this, login shell looks up for ~/.bashrc, then it looks up for bashrc_a file, and also, since TERM is deleted from env -i, it did not help.

So my question is, how do I unload bashrc_a and load bashrc_b?

  • Use environment-modules, it is designed for such tasks. You may need a bit more time to configure it first, but it is worth it. – Thomas Sep 16 '17 at 14:01
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It sound, from what you describe, like you don't actually want to load the bashrc_b environment from bashrc_a.

Assuming that you dont't source either of bashrc_a or bashrc_b from .bashrc or .bash_profile.

  1. Start a bash shell as normal.
  2. Start the bashrc_a environment with bash --rcfile bashrc_a.
  3. If you want to switch to the bashrc_b environment
    1. first exit, and then
    2. bash --rcfile bashrc_b

If you want to keep the bashrc_a environment around, then just open another terminal and do bash --rcfile bashrc_b.

The other alternative would be to write a corresponding "unload" rc-file for each of the environments. These two files would unset or re-set the environment in such a way that they un-did whatever the corresponding bashrc_x file did. You may then source bashrc_a, do your work, source unbashrc_a, followed by source bashrc_b (or have bashrc_b source unbashrc_a directly).

This may be tricky to write and to keep up to date though.

  • Not exactly what I wanted, but I kinda figured a way with your answer. It turns out, to make bash forget all environment arguments, just bash --login is enough. So I -similar to your answer- removed bashrc_a from default .bashrc and made a couple of scripts to switch between two environments without a big effort. – Hojin Cho Sep 19 '17 at 13:33

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