zombie process


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zombie process

(operating system)
(Or "defunct process") A Unix process that has terminated (either because it has been killed by a signal or because it has called exit()) and whose parent process has not yet received notification of its termination by executing (some form of) the wait() system call.

A zombie process exists solely as a process table entry and consumes no other resources. This entry is retained to hold the child's exit status until the parent process wants to retrieve it. The parent can also be notified asynchronously via a signal of the child's termination.

Zombie processes can be seen in "ps" listings occasionally (with a status "Z" in some versions).

Compare orphan process.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
References in periodicals archive ?
"We are in a much better situation than we were in Copenhagen at this stage of the game last year," said Chris Huhne, Britain's energy and climate change secretary, adding that a new failure in Cancun, after last year's Copenhagen summit failed to reach a binding treaty, would reduce the UN climate talks to a "zombie process," stumbling along forever with no real hope of progress.