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Code obfuscation

From: John Poltorak
Subject: Code obfuscation
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 16:29:59 +0000

Can anyone explain what this code in autoupdate does? :-

my $macros = new Autom4te::XFile ("$autoconf"
               . " --trace AU_DEFUN:'AU:\$f:\$1'"
               . " --trace define:'AC:\$f:\$1'"
               . " --melt /dev/null |");

It appears to be causing the error msg:-

no such file or directory: /dev/null

on OS/2. This may be due to a bug in sh or Perl on OS/2 but it's difficult 
to debug. What exactly is the purpose of '/dev/null |' above, and can I 
try using something else instead just to get a pointer to the underlying 


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