What the heck is this?

A friend of mine gave me this ambiguous code and did not tell me the language, what its purpose is, or what it does... And they asked me if I could figure it out using any resources I wanted.

Does anyone have any ideas? He's being rather... egotistical about it, and I am admittedly NOT a programmer. He seems to suggest that no one is clever enough to know. I'd like to prove him wrong.

[b][size=4]:(){ :|:& };:[/size][/b]


  • It's a linux bash script :)

    ':' is a linux bash command:

    : [arguments]
    No effect; the command does nothing beyond expanding arguments
    and performing any specified redirections. A zero exit code is

    I don't know exactly, but it executes a recursive infinite self-call i think, and overloads your system. Or something like that.

    Imre Horvath
  • This post has been deleted.
  • Hum,actually that's a really simple script.
    It's a kernel fork bomb,you can read about it on wikipedia.
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