Linux 2.6 - man page for colon (linux section 1posix)
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COLON(P) POSIX Programmer's Manual COLON(P)
colon - null utility
: [argument ...]
This utility shall only expand command arguments. It is used when a command is needed, as
in the then condition of an if command, but nothing is to be done by the command.
See the DESCRIPTION.
The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.
CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS
The following sections are informative.
else echo $X
As with any of the special built-ins, the null utility can also have variable assignments
and redirections associated with it, such as:
x=y : > z
which sets variable x to the value y (so that it persists after the null utility com-
pletes) and creates or truncates file z.
Special Built-In Utilities
Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std
1003.1, 2003 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System
Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 6, Copyright (C) 2001-2003 by
the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. In the
event of any discrepancy between this version and the original IEEE and The Open Group
Standard, the original IEEE and The Open Group Standard is the referee document. The orig-
inal Standard can be obtained online at http://www.opengroup.org/unix/online.html .
IEEE/The Open Group 2003 COLON(P)
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