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this bug tracks this: https://github.com/dotnet/core-setup/pull/362
apparently, on a new install on Sierra, the /etc/paths file is not created. This does not occur in the case of upgrades (from El Cap to Sierra) since the /etc/paths file would already be present on the system
Fixed in: https://github.com/xamarin/bockbuild/commit/2d270154b4c83c6b0722760c32246b738fade4bb
Small correction: it's not the /etc/paths file that is missing on Sierra, but the /etc/paths.d *directory* (note the .d at the end).
We're trying to place a file into this directory during postinstall in the Mono .pkg which wouldn't work if the directory doesn't exist.