fork bomb

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fork bomb

A particular species of wabbit that can be written in one line of C:

main() for

or shell:

$0 & $0 &

on any Unix system, or occasionally created by an egregious coding bug. A fork bomb process "explodes" by recursively spawning copies of itself using the Unix system call "fork(2)". Eventually it eats all the process table entries and effectively wedges the system. Fortunately, fork bombs are relatively easy to spot and kill, so creating one deliberately seldom accomplishes more than to bring the just wrath of the gods down upon the perpetrator.

See also logic bomb.
References in periodicals archive ?
A fork bomb is a clever little program that has one purpose in life, and that is to reproduce itself.
He would dial-in, write and compile the fork bomb, and let it go.
Fork bomb -- A disruptive piece of code directed toward a Unix-based system, which replicates, or "forks," until it eventually "explodes" and devours operating system processes, causing the system to lock up.