true does nothing except return an exit status of 0, meaning
success. It can be used as a place holder in shell scripts
where a successful command is needed, although the shell built-in
: (colon) may do the same thing faster.
In most modern shells, true is a built-in command, so when
you use ‘true’ in a script, you're probably using the built-in
command, not the one documented here.
true honors the --help and --version options.
Note, however, that it is possible to cause true to exit with nonzero status: with the --help or --version option, and with standard output already closed or redirected to a file that evokes an I/O error. For example, using a Bourne-compatible shell:
$ ./true --version >&- ./true: write error: Bad file number $ ./true --version > /dev/full ./true: write error: No space left on device
This version of true 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.