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System Calls                                             vfork(2)

     vfork - spawn new process in a virtual memory efficient way

     #include <unistd.h>

     pid_t vfork(void);

     The vfork() function creates  new  processes  without  fully
     copying  the address space of the old process. This function
     is useful in instances where the purpose of a fork(2) opera-
     tion would be to create a new system context for an execve()
     operation (see exec(2)).

     Unlike with the fork() function, the child  process  borrows
     the  parent's  memory  and thread of control until a call to
     execve() or an exit (either  abnormally  or  by  a  call  to
     _exit() (see exit(2)). The parent process is suspended while
     the child is using its resources.

     In a multithreaded application,  vfork()  borrows  only  the
     thread  of  control  that called vfork() in the parent; that
     is, the child contains only one thread. The use  of  vfork()
     in multithreaded applications, however, is not advised.

     The vfork() function can normally be used the  same  way  as
     fork().  The  procedure that called vfork(), however, should
     not return while running in the child's context,  since  the
     eventual  return from vfork() would be to a stack frame that
     no longer exists. The _exit() function  should  be  used  in
     favor  of  exit(3C)  if unable to perform an execve() opera-
     tion, since exit() will flush and close standard  I/O  chan-
     nels,  and thereby corrupt the parent process's standard I/O
     data structures. The _exit() function should  be  used  even
     with fork() to avoid flushing the buffered data twice.

     Upon successful completion, vfork() returns  0 to the  child
     process  and  returns the process ID of the child process to
     the parent process. Otherwise, -1 is returned to the  parent
     process,  no  child  process is created, and errno is set to
     indicate the error.

     The vfork() function will fail if:

           The  system-imposed  limit  on  the  total  number  of
           processes under execution (either system-quality or by
           a single user) would be exceeded. This limit is deter-
           mined when the system is generated.

SunOS 5.9           Last change: 14 Dec 2001                    1

System Calls                                             vfork(2)

           There is insufficient swap space for the new process.

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the  following  attri-

    |       ATTRIBUTE TYPE        |       ATTRIBUTE VALUE       |
    | MT-Level                    | Unsafe                      |

     exec(2),  exit(2),  fork(2),  ioctl(2),  wait(2),  exit(3C),

     The use of vfork() for any purpose other than as  a  prelude
     to  an immediate call to a function from the  exec family or
     to  _exit() is not advised.

     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 ioctls are allowed and
     input attempts result in an EOF indication.

     On some systems, the implementation of  vfork()  causes  the
     parent  to  inherit register values from the child. This can
     create  problems  for  certain   optimizing   compilers   if
     <unistd.h> is not included in the source calling vfork().

SunOS 5.9           Last change: 14 Dec 2001                    2