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FAQ: Environment

This section covers the UNIX environment on HECToR and how you can configure your environment to suit your needs.

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Q. What is a module(file)?

A. The Linux command module provides a command-line interface to the Modules software package, which allows you to dynamically modify your user environment by using modulefiles.

Each modulefile contains the information needed to configure the shell for an application. After the Modules software package is initialized, the environment can be modified on a per-module basis using the module command, which interprets modulefiles.

Typically, modulefiles instruct the module command to alter or set shell environment variables such as PATH, MANPATH, and others.

The modulefiles can be shared by many users on a system, and users can have their own collection to supplement or replace the shared modulefiles.

(This information was adapted from the manpage module(1)).

Q. How can I check which modules are available?

A. module avail lists all available modulefiles in the current MODULEPATH.

Q. How can I check which modules have been loaded?

A. module list lists all modulefiles in your current environment. Issue this command just after login to see the defaults.

Q. How do I load the modules I need?


  • module load modulefile [modulefile....] - loads modulefile into the shell environment.
  • module show modulefile [modulefile...] - displays information about modulefile; this lists the full path of modulefile and all of the environment changes modulefile will make if loaded.
Q. How do I change one (version of a) particular module?

A. module switch modulefile1 modulefile2 - switches the loaded modulefile1 to modulefile2 without affecting other environment settings.

Q. How do I remove "." from my default PATH

For the convenience of users the default PATH on HECToR contains the current directory ("."). If you would rather not have the current directory in your default PATH then you can remove it by adding the following lines to your $HOME/.bashrc file:

# Remove . from path
export PATH=`echo $PATH | sed -e 's/:\.:/:/' -e 's/:\.$//'`

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