Re: PATH: /usr/local before or after /usr ?

From: Michael Gmelin <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2021 15:17:37 UTC

On Fri, 16 Jul 2021 09:01:49 -0600
Alan Somers <> wrote:

> FreeBSD has always placed /usr/local/X after /usr/X in the default
> PATH. AFAICT that convention began with SVN revision 37 "Initial
> import of 386BSD 0.1 othersrc/etc".  Why is that?  It would make
> sense to me that /usr/local/X should come first.  That way programs
> installed from ports can override FreeBSD's defaults.

I think that is exactly what you don't want to happen by default
(imagine all the ways the system could fall apart in a really hard to
support ways if individual standard tools from base are overridden -
especially as many users might not even notice, as it might be a
side-effect of installing some dependency of something they need).

Users are always free to tweak PATH for their purposes of course, but
running the UNIX tools that came with the OS by default makes a lot
of sense to me.


>  Is there a
> good reason for this convention, or is it just inertia?
> -Alan

Michael Gmelin