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16.1 false: Do nothing, unsuccessfully

false does nothing except return an exit status of 1, meaning failure. It can be used as a place holder in shell scripts where an unsuccessful command is needed. In most modern shells, false is a built-in command, so when you use ‘false’ in a script, you’re probably using the built-in command, not the one documented here.

false honors the --help and --version options.

This version of false is implemented as a C program, and is thus more secure and faster than a shell script implementation, and may safely be used as a dummy shell for the purpose of disabling accounts.

Note that false (unlike all other programs documented herein) exits unsuccessfully, even when invoked with --help or --version.

Portable programs should not assume that the exit status of false is 1, as it is greater than 1 on some non-GNU hosts.