Configuring User Preferences

Linux stores most user preferences in so-called "dot files'' in the user's home directory. If a filename starts with a dot, it will not be displayed by the ls command unless you use the -a option and is therefore regarded as a "hidden" file. Both dot files and dot directories are used to hold preferences for most of the programs you use. Many programs will write a new dot file in your home directory when you run them for the first time.

Many of these dot files have names that include the letters rc — this comes from the initial letters of run command and is an old Unix legacy. The same letters rc will be seen in the SUSE commands used for starting and stopping services.

In particular, the KDE desktop uses a directory, .kde, in a user's home directory to store preferences for all KDE programs as well as your desktop settings. This directory contains multiple subdirectories and preference files for many KDE applications.

The behavior of the bash shell is determined by the user's file .bashrc. Exactly how bash preferences are set is complicated; as mentioned earlier, the system-wide files /etc/profile and /etc/profile.local are also read, and the user's file .profile is read at login.

You can modify various aspects of how bash behaves by editing .bashrc. In particular, you could change your umask simply by adding a line at the end of .bashrc like this:

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