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Removing zombie processes

Mar 05, 2010, 19:02 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jesse Smith)


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"Dawn-of-the-data asks: What is a zombie process and how do I get rid of it?

"DistroWatch answers: UNIX administrators have colourful names and descriptions for things, especially when it comes to processes. For example, when one program or process starts another process, the original is referred to as the "parent process" and the new process is called the "child process". When a child process is finished its task it "dies". The parent process is notified of its child's death and the child's information is removed from the system.

"But sometimes a child process dies and the parent process doesn't stop to collect the information. When that happens, the child process itself is removed from the system, but a marker or "death certificate" is left behind, waiting to be collected. These uncollected death certificates are referred to as "zombie processes". These are rarely problems in themselves as they take up very little memory, but finding zombie processes usually means there's a bug in the parent program."

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