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Report on environment variable issues

From: Tirifto
Subject: Report on environment variable issues
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2019 21:25:50 +0200


I am running Guix on Parabola GNU+Linux-libre (a libre derivative of
Arch Linux), and have had issues with environment variables in two
instances. I'm not asking for help, but I'm not sure if this is
appropriate for the bug list, either, so here we go.

Firstly, when running GNOME Shell (native on Parabola), I tried
integrating it with Guix, so that applications installed with Guix
would be visible to GNOME Shell. I tried doing this by extending the
environment variable ‘$XDG_DATA_DIRS’, which is empty by default,
but that made GNOME Shell crash on login.

After some investigation, it turned out that GNOME Shell falls back on
a certain default value when the variable is empty, which already
contains paths that GNOME Shell needs to function properly. So when the
user extends the existing value of ‘$XDG_DATA_DIRS’ with another path,
the variable is no longer empty, so GNOME Shell never gets to fall back
to the paths it actually needs, and crashes instead.

The solution was to manually add the paths to the extension/definition.
I used ‘/usr/local/share:/usr/share’; not sure if that's all there was
to it, but GNOME Shell could work with it. See also this Parabola bug:

Secondly, I find that the program ‘youtube-dl’ (native on Parabola)
doesn't work properly when I define environment variables for SSL
Certificates as advised by the Guix manual, like so:

  export SSL_CERT_DIR="$HOME/.guix-profile/etc/ssl/certs"
  export SSL_CERT_FILE="$HOME/.guix-profile/etc/ssl/certs/ca-certif\

youtube-dl then complains about being unable to get local issuer
certificates. On the other hand, when the variables are undefined, Guix
complains about certificates, for a change (e.g. when running ‘guix

My current solution is to comment the variables out in my ~/.profile,
and only export them in the terminal when I'm about to use Guix.

I don't know if these are reliably reproducible, and whether they
should be fixed somewhere, or just better documented, but I hope the
info can help!

Best wishes
// Tirifto

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