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From: Ben Hutchings (ben.hutchings_at_[hidden])
Date: 2004-10-04 03:27:00

Tony Juricic wrote:
> Environment easily gets too large, too messy and unmanageable (especially
> when you add also Java and/or Python) and I can not understand why would
> each tool or app pollute global environment. If you think a bit about it,
> there is no huge difference between the environment and the registry except
> that latter has a tree structure (as opposed to flat key-value environment)
> and does not get passed to each app as a block of memory.

Under Windows it is common to set environment variables on a
per-computer or per-user basis - in which case they are stored in the
registry, loaded by Windows Explorer and passed on to the processes it
spawns. If you're used to this way of doing things I can see why you
might not appreciate the use of environment variables. However, there
is a huge difference: registry settings (and configuration files) have
static scope whereas environment variables have dynamic scope, and
dynamic scope is sometimes very useful. You can easily change
environment variables on a per-session or per-command basis. However, I
agree that they should be used sparingly.


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