Environment Variables in OSX Mavericks

In OSX Lion and previous versions, you used to be able to define your environment variables within the

~/.MacOSX/environment.plist

file. However this has changed in OSX Mavericks, as least for windowed applications to the following file

/etc/launchd.conf

However you may find that this file doesn’t already exist. You can then edit the file using your favourite editor, for example to use vi

sudo vi /etc/launchd.conf

Then add your environment variables, for example setting some Apache Maven

setenv MAVEN_OPTS "-Xmx512M" -XX:MaxPermSize=512M"
setenv M2_HOME /Library/apache-maven-3.1.1

and restart your windowed applications.

These setting will only take place after a reboot. If you want to avoid a reboot then you can set the properties that are launchctl command

launchctl setenv M2_HOME /Library/apache-maven-3.1.1

You will still need to restart your application. The variables set with launchctl do not survive a reboot, therefore you will need to make your changes to the launched.conf file to ensure they survive a reboot.

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