Ubuntu – How to add ~/bin to PATH for a systemd service


I have a systemd service which calls a PHP script that creates a tmux session on boot.

Globally I have the most current tmux for the distro (V>=2.5).
The script's USER has a $HOME/bin/tmux of 2.0

What I need is for this systemd to use the tmux binary in the user's $HOME.
I have set the USER & GROUP variables in the systemd service file but it seems to call the globally installed binary.

Is it possible to explicitly set the binary that should be called for this service invocation?

If possible I'd rather not start to hardcode the path in the PHP file itself.

Many thanks.

Best Answer

You could hardcode the PATH in the systemd service:


More flexible would be PAM. It's awfully roundabout compared to simply using bash -c '....', but you can do this with PAM.

Create a new PAM configuration in /etc/pam.d (say /etc/pam.d/foo) and add:

session    required     pam_env.so user_envfile=some-file user_readenv=1

And in /home/someUser/some-file, add:

PATH DEFAULT=/home/someUser/bin:${PATH}

Of course, you can adjust the some-file name to something more sensible, but the path in user_envfile has to be relative to the user's home directory (the user that you set in User= in the service).

Then in the service file, in the [Service] section, add (foo being the file in /etc/pam.d created earlier):


Now, when you start the service (after reloading, etc.), the session modules in /etc/pam.d/foo will be run, which in this case is just pam_env. pam_env will load environment variables from /etc/environment, subject to constraints in /etc/security/pam_env.conf, and then the user environment from ~/some-file. Since PATH is set to a default value in /etc/environment, the user environment prepends to this default value.

Here, the default value of user_envfile is .pam_environment, which is also read by the PAM configuration of other things like SSH or LightDM login, etc. I used a different file here in case you don't want to affect these things. You could remove the user_envfile=... and use the default ~/.pam_environment. you could also just use an existing PAM configuration in /etc/pam.d which has user_readenv=1, but other PAM modules may cause unwanted side effects.

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