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NetBSD 6.1.5 - man page for vfork (netbsd section 2)

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VFORK(2)			     BSD System Calls Manual				 VFORK(2)

NAME
     vfork -- spawn new process in a virtual memory efficient way

LIBRARY
     Standard C Library (libc, -lc)

SYNOPSIS
     #include <unistd.h>

     pid_t
     vfork(void);

DESCRIPTION
     The vfork system call creates a new process that does not have a new virtual address space,
     but rather shares address space with the parent, thus avoiding potentially expensive copy-
     on-write operations normally associated with creating a new process.  It is useful when the
     purpose of fork(2) would have been to create a new system context for an execve(2).  The
     vfork system call differs from fork(2) in that the child borrows the parent's memory and
     thread of control until a call to execve(2) or an exit (either by a call to _exit(2) or
     abnormally).  The parent process is suspended while the child is using its resources.

     The vfork system call returns 0 in the child's context and (later) the pid of the child in
     the parent's context.

     The vfork system call can normally be used just like fork(2).  It does not work, however, to
     return while running in the childs context from the procedure that called vfork() since the
     eventual return from vfork() would then return to a no longer existent stack frame.  Be
     careful, also, to call _exit(2) rather than exit(3) if you can't execve(2), since exit(3)
     will flush and close standard I/O channels, and thereby mess up the standard I/O data struc-
     tures in the parent process.  (Even with fork(2) it is wrong to call exit(3) since buffered
     data would then be flushed twice.)

RETURN VALUES
     Same as for fork(2).

ERRORS
     Same as for fork(2).

SEE ALSO
     execve(2), fork(2), sigaction(2), wait(2)

HISTORY
     The vfork() function call appeared in 3.0BSD.  In 4.4BSD, the semantics were changed to only
     suspend the parent.  The original semantics were reintroduced in NetBSD 1.4.

BUGS
     Users should not depend on the memory sharing semantics of vfork() as other ways of speeding
     up the fork process may be developed in the future.

     To avoid a possible deadlock situation, processes that are children in the middle of a
     vfork() are never sent SIGTTOU or SIGTTIN signals; rather, output or ioctl(2) calls are
     allowed and input attempts result in an end-of-file indication.

BSD					 January 3, 1998				      BSD
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