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IEEE/The Open Group
2013

man-pages

Linux kernel and C library user-space interface documentation

man-pages-posix

POSIX Manual Pages

PROLOG

This manual page is part of the POSIX Programmer’s Manual. The Linux implementation of this interface may differ (consult the corresponding Linux manual page for details of Linux behavior), or the interface may not be implemented on Linux.

NAME

colon — null utility

SYNOPSIS

: [argument...]

DESCRIPTION

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.

OPTIONS

None.

OPERANDS

See the DESCRIPTION.

STDIN

Not used.

INPUT FILES

None.

ENVIRONMENT VARIABLES

None.

ASYNCHRONOUS EVENTS

Default.

STDOUT

Not used.

STDERR

The standard error shall be used only for diagnostic messages.

OUTPUT FILES

None.

EXTENDED DESCRIPTION

None.

EXIT STATUS

Zero.

CONSEQUENCES OF ERRORS

Default.
The following sections are informative.

APPLICATION USAGE

None.

EXAMPLES

: ${X=abc}
if     false
then   :
else   echo $X
fi
abc
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 completes) and creates or truncates file z.

RATIONALE

None.

FUTURE DIRECTIONS

None.

SEE ALSO

Section 2.14, Special Built-In Utilities

COPYRIGHT

Portions of this text are reprinted and reproduced in electronic form from IEEE Std 1003.1, 2013 Edition, Standard for Information Technology -- Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX), The Open Group Base Specifications Issue 7, Copyright (C) 2013 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc and The Open Group. (This is POSIX.1-2008 with the 2013 Technical Corrigendum 1 applied.) 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 original Standard can be obtained online at http://www.unix.org/online.html .
Any typographical or formatting errors that appear in this page are most likely to have been introduced during the conversion of the source files to man page format. To report such errors, see https://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/reporting_bugs.html .
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