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These zombie processes are for most intents and purposes “finished” execution. The only reason one may still be in the process table is that the parent has not yet wait()ed for it. This usually means the parent has a bug or is in an exceptional state. The only way to kill the zombie process is to kill its parent.
Last edited by osor; 09-10-2007 at 11:01 AM.
Reason: clarify wait() behavior
The only reason they are still in the process table is that the parent is wait()ing for it.
I'm not knitpicking; just want to make sure the original poster has it clear...
the zombie proc is laying around because the parent has NOT yet called the wait() system call to syncronize it's execution with the child.
When the parent calls wait(), the child process -- really, one of it's children if it has more than one zombie -- will be cleaned up. Of course, if the parent is buggy, or poorly written, it'll never actually call wait() and you have zombies until you kill the parent (as someone else already pointed out.)