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How Emacs Finds Your Init File
Normally Emacs uses the environment variable `HOME' to find
`.emacs'; that's what `~' means in a file name. But if you have done
`su', Emacs tries to find your own `.emacs', not that of the user you
are currently pretending to be. The idea is that you should get your
own editor customizations even if you are running as the super user.
More precisely, Emacs first determines which user's init file to use.
It gets the user name from the environment variables `USER' and
`LOGNAME'; if neither of those exists, it uses effective user-ID. If
that user name matches the real user-ID, then Emacs uses `HOME';
otherwise, it looks up the home directory corresponding to that user
name in the system's data base of users.
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