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Unix has a true command. For the uninitiated, the true command doesn’t do anything other than return with the exit code 0. This may not seem very useful, but programmers can use it for constructs such as

    while true
    do
        command
    done

Which should execute command forever. Anyway, enough backstory.

I recently learned that under the Solaris operating system, true is implemented as a bourne shell script. Here it is in it’s entirety:

    #!/usr/bin/sh
    #       Copyright (c) 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 AT&T
    #         All Rights Reserved

    #       THIS IS UNPUBLISHED PROPRIETARY SOURCE CODE OF AT&T
    #       The copyright notice above does not evidence any
    #       actual or intended publication of such source code.

    #ident  "@(#)true.sh    1.6     93/01/11 SMI"   /* SVr4.0 1.4   */

There are a number of interesting things about this.

    1. It’s at version 1.6 – there have been presumably at least six versions of this.
    2. It’s nothing but comments – essentially an empty script.
    3. It’s copyrighted.

      So, essentially they are copyrighting… nothing? Just think of all the copyright infringements. Smithers, release the hounds!

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