.profile dates back to the original Bourne shell known as
sh. Since the GNU shell
bash is (depending on its options) a superset of the Bourne shell, both shells can use the same startup file. That is, provided that only
sh commands are put in
alias is a valid built-in command of
bash but unknown to
sh. Therefore, if you had only a
.profile in your home directory and put an
alias statement in it,
sh would complain. So there is a bash specific file that has shell initialization commands which bash will read if and only if there isn't a
.profile file present.
Actually that's a bit of an oversimplification in some installations, and I'm not familiar with Fedora. Under bash,
/etc/profile is read by the shell before any files in your home directory. If there is a system wide initialization script it often says something like
if there is a $HOME/.profile:
elseif bash is my shell and there is a $HOME/.bash_profile:
Why is that way? An attempt at compatibility across decades of shell dialects. Why is the tutorial written that way? The Bourne shell is not often used much any more and some people don't even know that there is any other Bourne-like shell than bash. Even when the (limited) Bourne syntax is used for greater cross-platform compatibility it is often being run by
dash or bash in POSIX compatibility mode. Indeed, the actual Bourne shell source is probably a copyright component of Unix System V which appears to be the property of Novell now but I have no idea what, if anything, they are doing with it.
For the beginning user, use either
$HOME/.bash_profile but not both and you'll be fine. Since you already have a
.bash_profile work with that because it may have system specific stuff in it that your installation needs.