fork - create a new process
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
fork() causes creation of a new process. The new process (child process)
is an exact copy of the calling process (parent process) except for the
+o The child process has a unique process ID.
+o The child process has a different parent process ID (i.e., the
process ID of the parent process).
+o The child process has its own copy of the parent's descriptors.
These descriptors reference the same underlying objects, so
that, for instance, file pointers in file objects are shared
between the child and the parent, so that an lseek(2) on a
descriptor in the child process can affect a subsequent read(2)
or write(2) by the parent. This descriptor copying is also
used by the shell to establish standard input and output for
newly created processes as well as to set up pipes.
+o The child process' resource utilizations are set to 0; see
Upon successful completion, fork() returns a value of 0 to the child process
and returns the process ID of the child process to the parent process.
Otherwise, a value of -1 is returned to the parent process, no
child process is created, and the global variable errno is set to indicate
fork() will fail and no child process will be created if:
[EAGAIN] The system-imposed limit on the total number of processes under
execution would be exceeded. This limit is configurationdependent.
[EAGAIN] The limit RLIMIT_NPROC on the total number of processes under
execution by this user id would be exceeded.
[ENOMEM] There is insufficient swap space for the new process.
execve(2), setrlimit(2), wait(2)
The fork() function conforms to ISO/IEC 9945-1:1990 (``POSIX.1'').
A fork() system call appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
BSD June 4, 1993 BSD
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