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 505137
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: This is silly.
by phoudoin on Mon 30th Jan 2012 15:50 UTC in reply to "This is silly."
Member since:

It's not like they thought "Hey, we should copyright true".

But I'm sure someone once said "Hey, we should copyright more", another well-known Unix command :-)

Ironically, the FSF answer was to copyleft "less"! ;-)

Reply Parent Score: 10