However, unlike on other Unixoid systems, OS X runs no user login shell which reads my
~/.profilesettings on startup. The mechanism was replaced by the
~/.MacOSX/environment.plistproperty list, which provides an initial environment at login. Unhelpfully, it is also read at login time only, i.e., after changing it a user has to logout and login again to actually see the changes taking effect.
Property lists are used in several other places, and helpfully, OS X comes with a property list editor (Property List Editor.app):
Nevertheless, it is possible to keep settings in one place by reading out the environment file from the shell profile:
export PATH=$(defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment PATH)
Depending on the default shell used, the code goes
~/.zshenv (zsh) or
The above screenshot shows other useful settings, like CVS_RSH, locale settings, etc.