Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 30th Jan 2012 14:10 UTC
General Unix "One of the fun examples among all the copyright fuss is the extreme example of copyright claims made by AT&T some time in the 1980s. It's the /bin/true program. This is a dummy' library program whose main function is to make it easy to write infinite loops (while true do ...) in shells scripts. The 'true' program does nothing; it merely exits with a zero exit status. This can be done with an empty file that's marked executable, and that's what it was in the earliest unix system libraries. Such an empty file will be interpreted as a shell script that does nothing, and since it does this successfully, the shell exits with a zero exit status. But AT&T's lawyers decided that this was worthy of copyright protection." Three blank lines. Copyrighted. You can't make this stuff up.
Permalink for comment 505130
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: 1984
by raboof on Mon 30th Jan 2012 14:37 UTC in reply to "1984"
raboof
Member since:
2005-07-24

How can they copyright this in 1984 when the Amiga had this command also at that time frame?

Also while I don't have my Micro magazines with me to check - did not OS9 also have this feature?


It's a copyright, not a patent.

If you re-implement an existing program, you're free to copyright your implementation. Obviously that copyright does not prevent others from re-implementing the same software, again.

Reply Parent Score: 7