21
votes
4answers
1k views

Is the shell permitted to optimize out useless terminating commands?

If a shell is asked to perform a probably useless (or partially useless) command known to terminate, such as cat hugeregularfile.txt > /dev/null, can it skip that command's execution (or execute a ...
33
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the point of the `cd` external command?

As referenced in this fine answer, POSIX systems have an external binary cd in addition to the shell builtin. On OS X 10.8 it's /usr/bin/cd. You can't use it like the builtin cd since it exits ...