1.5.18-1: cygwin.bat/bash fails after installing Cygwin

Jason Fritz (CO/EWU) jason.fritz@ericsson.com
Thu Oct 20 17:36:00 GMT 2005

Hi all,

I began typing this mail as a problem report, but thanks to a gracious reply from Chloe Chang, it turned out that I had not yet set my HOME environment variable to complete the installation.  I'll describe the problem anyway to help steer future Cygwin-er's clear of this issue.

I had just installed Cygwin 1.5.18-1 plus default base packages for the first time on my Windows 2000 laptop.  After installation, running cygwin.bat (or the Cygwin shortcut on the desktop) gave the following error:
bash: can't find configuration file /usr/local/etc/profile.global; exiting.

Searching the Cygwin mail archive, I found that Chloe had seen this problem back in June 2005.  See:

There was a reply from Igor Pechtchanski that said she was "not running the Cygwin version of bash".  I believe this analysis was wrong, however, since the bash package was installed by Cygwin's setup.exe, which presumably should only download a Cygwin version of bash.

After contacting Chloe directly, she pointed me to the environment variable webpage for Cygwin: http://www.cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/setup-env.html

It turns out that I needed to set my HOME environment variable to something.  I set it to my My Documents directory:
set HOME=C:\Documents and Settings\ewujafr\My Documents

After that, cygwin.bat worked fine.  Note that a more permanent way to set HOME is via Control Panel->System then Advanced tab->Environment Variables.

*** plea for change ***
I think the main page for Cygwin, http://cygwin.com/, is misleading because it leads new users to believe that running setup.exe is all that you need to do.  There's no link to the setup instructions: http://www.cygwin.com/cygwin-ug-net/setup-net.html.  Can someone update the main page?  Better yet, setup.exe could set the HOME variable for the user, perhaps by adding an extra page to the setup wizard.

Sorry for the long-winded post.
Jason Fritz

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