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"Pointers" with $ Syntax in /etc/environment

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http://askubuntu.com – Is it valid to have "pointers" in /etc/environment using $FOO syntax? Right now my /etc/environment looks like this: JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk MAVEN_HOME=/usr/bin/apache-maven/apache-maven-3.0.4 M2_HOME=$MAVEN_HOME M2=$MAVEN_HOME/bin PATH=/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:$JAVA_HOME/bin:$MAVEN_HOME/bin I'm not getting the results that I'm expecting though: ~$ echo $JAVA_HOME /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk ~$ echo $MAVEN_HOME /usr/bin/apache-maven/apache-maven-3.0.4 ~$ echo $PATH /usr/lib/lightdm/lightdm:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/us (HowTos)