From Academic Kids

This is an article about a kind of computer program. For a biography of the logician and philosopher see Willard Van Orman Quine.

In computing, a quine is a program (a form of metaprogram) that produces its complete source code as its only output. For amusement, hackers sometimes attempt to develop the shortest possible quine in any given programming language.

Note that programs which simply open the source file of the program and print the contents (such as the first BASIC example below) are considered cheating. Also, a quine which contains no code is ruled out as trivial; in many programming languages executing such a program will output the code (i.e. nothing).

Quines are named after philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine, who made an extensive study of indirect self-reference: he coined, among others, the paradox-producing expression, "yields falsehood when appended to its own quotation."


Sample quine in BASIC


Also because that quine may be considered "cheating", because it directly accesses its own source, here is another quine:

10 C=": PRINT CHR(49)+CHR(48)+CHR(32)+CHR(67)+CHR(61)+CHR(34)+C+CHR(34)+C":
PRINT CHR(49)+CHR(48)+CHR(32)+CHR(67)+CHR(61)+CHR(34)+C+CHR(34)+C

Sample quine in Brainfuck

(Note: This should be one continuous line of code, but line breaks have been added for ease of reading. "Ease" used in the loosest possible sense.)


Sample quines in C

"int main(){return!printf(p,i+1,n,q,*i,i,q,*i,q,n,q,p,q,n,q,m,q,n,m,n);}"
;int main(){return!printf(p,i+1,n,q,*i,i,q,*i,q,n,q,p,q,n,q,m,q,n,m,n);}

Another one (this should be one single line, and assumes the compiler runs on an ASCII-Machine):

extern printf(char*,...);main(){char*a="extern printf(char*,...);

or, even shorter (although this is not correct ISO C99):


This one does not depend on ASCII and uses the C preprocessor for quoting and escaping:

#define T(a) main(){printf(a,#a);}
T("#define T(a) main(){printf(a,#a);}\nT(%s)\n")

It should be noted that a zero-length program is technically a quine, if it can be made to compile into an executable that does nothing (i.e. prints zero characters to stdout). This is possible in C by tweaking the Makefile a bit (because its standard behavior would be not to create an executable). This trick won the 'worst abuse of the rules' award in one of the earlier Obfuscated C Contests.

Sample quine in C++

(Note: linebreaks added for ease of reading)

#include <iostream>
int main(){const char c=',',dq='"',q[]="'",*s[]={"#include <iostream>",
"int main(){const char c=',',dq='","',q[]=",",*s[]={","};std::cout<<s[0]<<std::endl<<s[1]<<dq<<s[2]

Sample quine in C#

(Note: linebreaks added for ease of reading)

using System;
namespace quine
  class Program
    static void Main(string[] args)
      string s = "using System;{0}namespace quine{0}{2}{0}{1}class Program{0}
{1}{2}{0}{1}{1}[STAThread]{0}{1}{1}static void Main(string[] args){0}{1}{1}{2}{0}{1}{1}{1}
string s = {4}{6}{4};{0}{1}{1}{1}Console.Write(s, Environment.NewLine, {4}{5}t{4}, {4}{2}
{4}, {4}{3}{4}, {4}{5}{4}{4}, {4}{5}{5}{4}, s);{0}{1}{1}{3}{0}{1}{3}{0}{3}";
      Console.Write(s, Environment.NewLine, "\t", "{", "}", "\"", "\\", s);

Here's a simpler version that incorporates linebreaks:

class Q
    static void Main()
        string s = @"class Q
    static void Main()
        string s = @{2}{3}{2};
        System.Console.Write(s, '{0}', '{1}', '{2}', s);
        System.Console.Write(s, '{', '}', '"', s);

Sans formatting (remove the linebreaks):

class Q{static void Main(){string s="class Q{0}static void 
Main(){0}string s={2}{3}{2};System.Console.Write(s,'{0}',

Sample quine in Dc


Sample quine in DOS Batch

 @echo off
 %1 %2
 call %0 goto e %%
 call %0 goto e %%3 echo.%%4
 echo :f
 goto f
 echo.%4@echo off
 echo.%4%31 %32
 echo.%4call %30 goto e %3%3
 echo.%4call %30 goto e %3%33 echo.%3%34
 echo.%4echo :f
 echo.%4goto f


 more %0.bat

Sample quine in HQ9+


Sample quine in HTML using XMLHTTP

<html><body id="body"><pre id="code">.</pre></body><script type="text/javascript">
	var aflac = (window.ActiveXObject)?new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP"):new XMLHttpRequest();
	aflac.onreadystatechange = aflacStateChange;
	aflac.open("GET", location.href, true); aflac.send("");	
	function aflacStateChange() {if (aflac.readyState == 4) {addCode(aflac.responseText);}}	
	function addCode(text) {document.getElementById("code").firstChild.nodeValue = text;}

Sample quine in Java

(Note: there are no line breaks in the actual code)

class Q{public static void main(String[]a){char q=34;String t="class Q{public static void main(String[]a){char 
q=34;String t=;System.out.println(t.substring(0,62)+q+t+q+t.substring(62));}}";System.out.println(t.substring

Sample quine in JavaScript


another, showing off some seldom used javascript functionality

function quine()
  // any code here

Sample quine in Common Lisp

   (funcall (lambda (x) 
              (append x (list (list 'quote x))))
            '(funcall (lambda (x) 
                         (append x (list (list 'quote x))))))

Sample quine in MATLAB


Sample quine in OCaml

(fun s -> Printf.printf "%s %S" s s) "(fun s -> Printf.printf \"%s %S\" s s)"

Sample quine in Pascal

const a='const a=';b='begin write(a,#39,a,#39#59#98#61#39,b,#39#59#10,b) end.';
begin write(a,#39,a,#39#59#98#61#39,b,#39#59#10,b) end.

Remark 1. In the case of a DOS implementation of Pascal the screen output of the program can look somewhat misleading, and it would be appropriate for that case to replace both "#10" in the program by "#13#10" and to insert a CR before the LF at the end of the first line.

Remark 2. The above program can be made even shorter, since both occurrences of ") end." in it can be replaced by ")end." (although this is not good for the legibility). A further shortening can be achieved by skipping both "#10" and writing the program on a single line instead on two ones. After all these changes the program will look as follows (the fact that it continues to be a quine was checked at least in the cases of Turbo Pascal for DOS and Free Pascal for Linux):

const a='const a=';b='begin write(a,#39,a,#39#59#98#61#39,b,#39#59,b)end.';begin write(a,#39,a,#39#59#98#61#39,b,#39#59,b)end.

Another (Borland Pascal and Free Pascal):

const a='const a=;begin write(copy(a,1,8),#39,a,#39,copy(a,9,99)) end.';begin write(copy(a,1,8),#39,a,#39,copy(a,9,99)) end.

Another (Borland Pascal and Free Pascal):

const a:string='const a:string=;begin insert(#39+a+#39,a,16);write(a) end.';begin insert(#39+a+#39,a,16);write(a) end.

Sample quine in Perl




And a shell/Perl combo:

perl -le '$n=q{perl -le a$n=q{$x};($_=$n)=~s/\141/\47/g;s/\$x/$n/;printa};($_=$n)=~s/\141/\47/g;s/\$x/$n/;print'

This quine cheats by using the special DATA filehandle to access its own source code:

seek DATA, 0, 0; print <DATA>

Sample quine in PHP

 $a='chr(60).chr(63).chr(10).chr(36).chr(97).chr(61).chr(39).$a.chr(39).chr(59).chr(10)."echo $a;".chr(10).chr(63).chr(62)';
 echo chr(60).chr(63).chr(10).chr(36).chr(97).chr(61).chr(39).$a.chr(39).chr(59).chr(10)."echo $a;".chr(10).chr(63).chr(62);
 echo str_replace(1+1,chr(39).$a.chr(39),$a);
 echo str_replace(1+1,chr(39).$a.chr(39),$a);


<?php $c='echo \'<?php $c=\\\'\'.addslashes($c).\'\\\';eval($c) ?>\';';eval($c) ?>

Another: (Could be cheating...)

<? print file_get_contents(".".$PHP_SELF); ?>

Sample quine in PL1

(Note: This smallest possible PL/I quine will compile using the OS PL/I V2.3.0 compiler, but requires a left margin of 1 and the COMPILE option to override a rather significant number of severe errors, errors and warnings...)

  %dcl z%z='put edit';proc options(main;q=''''put list(m;do i=1,2;z(q)skip;do j=
  1to 78c=substr(m(i),j;if c=q z(c;z(c;end;z(q',';dcl(c,q)char,m(2)char(99)init(
  '%dcl z%z=''put edit'';proc options(main;q=''''''''put list(m;do i=1,2;z(q)skip;do j=',
  '1to 78c=substr(m(i),j;if c=q z(c;z(c;end;z(q'','';dcl(c,q)char,m(2)char(99)init(',

Sample quine in PostScript

 (dup == {dup cvx exec} pop 8 12 getinterval =)
 dup cvx exec

Sample quine in Python

a='a=%s;print a%%`a`';print a%`a`


b='\\';g='"';p='%';s="b='%s%s';g='%s';p='%s';s=%s%s%s;print s%s(b,b,g,p,g,s,g,p)";print s%(b,b,g,p,g,s,g,p)

And another one that shares the last 61 characters with the previous one (just to show that multiple assignments don't save typing):

b,g,p,s='\\','"','%',"b,g,p,s='%s%s','%s','%s',%s%s%s;print s%s(b,b,g,p,g,s,g,p)";print s%(b,b,g,p,g,s,g,p)

And yet another one, that is slightly more readable and more fun to read:

i = r'"i = r\'" + i + "\'\nprint " + i'
print "i = r\'" + i + "\'\nprint " + i

Sample quine in Ruby

puts <<2*2,2
puts <<2*2,2

Sample quine in Scheme

   ((lambda (x)
           (list x (list (quote quote) x)))
           (lambda (x)
               (list x (list (quote quote) x)))))

Sample quine in Tcl

 puts [join [split "puts \[a{a}]" a] {join [split "puts \[a{a}]" a] }]

Sample quine in VBScript


Sample quine in Visual FoxPro


Sample quine in Machine Code(MS-DOS COM file)

The characters below have the same character codes as those printed by the quine. However, they may appear differently here due to formatting. Opening the program in a basic text editor like MS-DOS Edit shows the characters actually printed, proving it is a quine.:


The above text is a result of the computer processing the hex instructions of the program as characters. The hex instructions themselves are below. They provide a way to create the executable using a hex editor (http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi32/xvi32.htm#download).

 b4 40 bb 01 00 b9 12 00 ba 12 01 cd 21 b4 40 cd 21 c3 b4 40 bb 01 00 b9 12 00 ba 12 01 cd 21 b4 40 cd 21 c3

External links

See also

de:Quine es:Quine fr:Quine it:Quine pl:Quine


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