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Re: Immortal processes

Jan C. Nordholz wrote:
On Sun, Jan 08, 2006 at 04:06:01PM -0800, Andrew Sackville-West wrote:

On Sun, 08 Jan 2006 15:32:11 +0200
Linas Zvirblis <0x0007@gmail.com> wrote:

By the way, there is no such thing as unkillable, "killall -9 mc" and "killall -9 acroread" should get rid of them.

I have lately encountered processes that don't respond to -9. I think it was an automount process. Regardless, what's up with that? Is there any other way to kill processes that don't respond to -9 (aside from of course, the dreaded reboot...)?

Yes, such a thing exists: Processes that get locked up in
kernel I/O. They will show up in 'ps' output with state 'D',
and won't respond to _anything_ until the kernel function
returns - and if the hardware itself is locked up, all you
can do is reboot. Scsi tapes are infamous for doing such
things, and NFS is, depending on the mount options used,
very good at doing the same.

(Btw: 'ps' can show you in which function the process is
blocking - that's the WCHAN column.)

I am having a similar problem. I keep my box on 24x7 and X is up the whole time. I have a window devoted to TkRemind to provide me with a calendar. It also pops up a reminder window each night at midnight with the next day's reminders. The problem is that it runs remind each time to get the new reminders and then it leaves the zombie process behind, and it can not be killed, even with a signal 9. (Even as root, I can not get rid of these processes.) After a few weeks they clutter up a ps, or top listing. If I exit TkRemind then it takes all of the zombie processes along with it, but I would like to find a way to get rid of them without having to close down TkRemind. Is there any standard way to terminate a zombie process? Is it being created due to something that TkRemind is doing incorrectly? I haven't really done any tcl/Tk programming, but I could find my way around the TkRemind script, I think, if I had a way to prevent the process from becoming a zombie.

Marc Shapiro

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