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I'm Jason, a web applications developer in the San Francisco Bay area.

Resetting Paths for Homebrew

I recently needed to install a program on my Mac using Homebrew. I was instructed to run ‘brew update’, and then the ‘brew doctor’ command which resulted in this message:

Warning: /usr/bin occurs before /usr/local/bin
This means that system-provided programs will be used instead of those
provided by Homebrew. The following tools exist at both paths:
Consider amending your PATH so that /usr/local/bin
occurs before /usr/bin in your PATH.

I am using Zsh instead of Bash, and checked my .bashrc, .bash_profile, .zshenv, and .zshrc files. None of those expressed the path with the /usr/bin path expressed before the /usr/local/bin.

I also noticed that when using ‘echo $PATH’ the paths were being duplicated. I saw that in my .zshrc I was setting the path in the correct order, but something else was setting the paths in the incorrect order…and taking precendence.

It turns out that there is a file - /etc/paths - which controls the default paths for all users on the system. I used ‘sudo nano /etc/paths’ to edit my configuration to reflect the following:


I opened a new terminal and ran ‘brew doctor’ again.

$ brew doctor
Your system is ready to brew.