How Would You Finish Your Script With an Exit Code of 42?

How Would You Finish Your Script With an Exit Code of 42?


In the world of coding and scripting, exit codes are essential for communicating the outcome of a program to the user or other programs. These exit codes are numerical values that indicate whether a script executed successfully or encountered an error. While most exit codes are arbitrary, there are instances where specific values are desired for a particular purpose. In this article, we will explore the concept of exit codes, delve into the significance of the mysterious exit code 42, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to finish your script with this unique exit code.

Understanding Exit Codes:

Exit codes serve as a standard method of communication between a script and its environment. When a script terminates, it returns an exit code to indicate its status. A value of 0 usually represents a successful execution, whereas any non-zero value signifies an error or some form of abnormal termination. These codes can be used by other programs, shell scripts, or even users to determine the success or failure of a script’s execution.

The Significance of Exit Code 42:

Exit code 42 has gained popularity and intrigue among developers due to its reference in Douglas Adams’ science fiction series, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In the book, the supercomputer Deep Thought determined that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is simply the number 42. Since then, 42 has become a symbol of hidden knowledge and a nod to the complexities of existence.

While exit code 42 holds no inherent meaning in the context of scripting, developers have embraced its whimsical nature by using it as a custom exit code for their scripts. It adds a touch of humor and geek culture to the otherwise mundane task of indicating script completion.

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Finishing Your Script with Exit Code 42:

Now that we understand the significance of exit code 42, let’s explore how you can finish your script with this delightful number. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Include a Conditional Statement:
To set the exit code of your script, you need to include a conditional statement that checks for the desired condition. For example, if your script has successfully completed its task, you can use an “if” statement to set the exit code to 42.

Step 2: Set the Exit Code:
Within the conditional statement, use the appropriate command or function to set the exit code. The exact method depends on the scripting language you are using. For instance, in Bash scripting, you can use the “exit” command followed by the desired exit code.

Step 3: Test the Script:
To ensure that your script is functioning correctly, run it and observe the exit code. If it returns 42, congratulations! You have successfully finished your script with an exit code of 42.


Q1: Can I use exit code 42 for any script?
A1: Yes, you can use exit code 42 for any script as long as it does not conflict with the predefined exit codes of the scripting language or any other conventions you are following.

Q2: Why would I want to finish my script with exit code 42?
A2: Using exit code 42 adds a touch of humor and references popular culture, making your script stand out among others. It also provides an opportunity for fellow developers to appreciate the Easter egg hidden within your code.

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Q3: Can I use exit code 42 alongside other exit codes?
A3: Yes, you can use exit code 42 alongside other exit codes. It is important to ensure that the values of different exit codes do not overlap or conflict.

Q4: Are there any practical applications of exit code 42?
A4: While exit code 42 may not have any practical significance, it can be useful for debugging or indicating a specific condition within your script.


Exit codes play a crucial role in scripting, allowing programs to communicate their status to users or other programs. Exit code 42, although arbitrary, holds significance in geek culture and adds a touch of humor to your scripts. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily finish your script with an exit code of 42, making it a delightful Easter egg for fellow developers to discover. So go ahead, embrace the whimsy, and let your script exit with a nod to Douglas Adams’ iconic number!

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