PREAP(1) User Commands PREAP(1)


preap - force a defunct process to be reaped by its parent


preap [-F] pid...


A defunct (or zombie) process is one whose exit status has yet to be
reaped by its parent. The exit status is reaped by way of the wait(3C),
waitid(2), or waitpid(3C) system call. In the normal course of system
operation, zombies can occur, but are typically short-lived. This can
happen if a parent exits without having reaped the exit status of some or
all of its children. In that case, those children are reparented to PID
1. See init(8), which periodically reaps such processes.

An irresponsible parent process can not exit for a very long time and
thus leave zombies on the system. Since the operating system destroys
nearly all components of a process before it becomes defunct, such
defunct processes do not normally impact system operation. However, they
do consume a small amount of system memory.

preap forces the parent of the process specified by pid to waitid(2) for
pid, if pid represents a defunct process.

preap attempts to prevent the administrator from unwisely reaping a child
process which might soon be reaped by the parent, if:

o The process is a child of init(8).

o The parent process is stopped and might wait on the child when
it is again allowed to run.

o The process has been defunct for less than one minute.


The following option is supported:

Forces the parent to reap the child, overriding safety checks.


The following operand is supported:

Process ID list.


Caution should be exercised when using the -F flag. Imposing two
controlling processes on one victim process can lead to chaos. Safety is
assured only if the primary controlling process, typically a debugger,
has stopped the victim process and the primary controlling process is
doing nothing at the moment of application of the proc tool in question.


The following exit values are returned by preap, which prints the exit
status of each target process reaped:

Successfully operation.

Failure, such as no such process, permission denied, or
invalid option.


proc(1), waitid(2), wait(3C), waitpid(3C), proc(5), attributes(7),


preap should be applied sparingly and only in situations in which the
administrator or developer has confirmed that defunct processes are not
reaped by the parent process. Otherwise, applying preap can damage the
parent process in unpredictable ways.

June 19, 2006 PREAP(1)