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Re: zombie processes

On Fri, Jan 02, 1998 at 10:06:00PM +0100, Frock wrote:
> I have a simple question:
> Why does a proces turn into a <zombie> that can't be killed, and how can I avoid those?

You cannot kill zombies; they are already dead!

(from Unix Power Tools - a good book by Jerry Peek, Tim O'Reilly and other).

When still files are open or a parent process is waiting for its child to
finish, the process ID (PID) cannot be reused by other programs, even if the
child process is already killed. So there is no process, only the PID is
blocked by open devices or parents who didn't noticed their child is dead ;)

You can only wait for the device file to be closed or the parent to release
the PID.

If it never happens, there is a bug somewhere, and you have to reboot (?) to
get rid of the zombies.

This is from the above book, I'm not sure that I got it right, but it should
be close to truth.


"Rhubarb is no Egyptian god."                         Debian GNU/Linux
Marcus Brinkmann                                      http://www.debian.org
http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Marcus.Brinkmann/  PGP Key ID 36E7CD09

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