/bin/true (was [TUHS] basic tools / Universal Unix)

Ron Natalie ron at ronnatalie.com
Fri Oct 20 00:52:29 AEST 2017


My favorite reduction to absurdity was /bin/true.   Someone decided we
needed shell commands for true and false.   Easy enough to add a script that
said "exit 0" or exit 1" as its only line.
Then someone realized that the "exit 0" in /bin true was superfluous, the
default return was 0.  /bin/true turned into an empty, yet executable, file.

Then the lawyers got involved.    We got a version of a packaged UNIX (I
think it was Interactive Systems).    Every shell script got twelve lines of
copyright/license boilerplate.     Including /bin true.
The file had nothing but useless comment in it.



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