pid_t wait(int *status);
pid_t waitpid(pid_t pid, int *status, int options);
int waitid(idtype_t idtype, id_t id ", siginfo_t *" infop ", int " options );
DescriptionAll of these system calls are used to wait for state changes in a child of the calling process, and obtain information about the child whose state has changed. A state change is considered to be: the child terminated; the child was stopped by a signal; or the child was resumed by a signal. In the case of a terminated child, performing a wait allows the system to release the resources associated with the child; if a wait is not performed, then terminated the child remains in a "zombie" state (see NOTES below).
If a child has already changed state, then these calls return immediately. Otherwise they block until either a child changes state or a signal handler interrupts the call (assuming that system calls are not automatically restarted using the SA_RESTART flag of sigaction(2)). In the remainder of this page, a child whose state has changed and which has not yet been waited upon by one of these system calls is termed waitable.
wait() and waitpid()The wait() system call suspends execution of the current process until one of its children terminates. The call wait(&status) is equivalent to:
waitpid(-1, &status, 0);
The waitpid() system call suspends execution of the current process until a child specified by pid argument has changed state. By default, waitpid() waits only for terminated children, but this behaviour is modifiable via the options argument, as described below.
The value of pid can be:
- < -1
- meaning wait for any child process whose process group ID is equal to the absolute value of pid.
- meaning wait for any child process.
- meaning wait for any child process whose process group ID is equal to that of the calling process.
- > 0
- meaning wait for the child whose process ID is equal to the value of pid.
8.10. exec Functions
We mentioned in Section 8.3 that one use of the fork function is to create a new process (the child) that then causes another program to be executed by calling one of the exec functions. When a process calls one of the exec functions, that process is completely replaced by the new program, and the new program starts executing at its main function. The process ID does not change across an exec, because a new process is not created; exec merely replaces the current processits text, data, heap, and stack segmentswith a brand new program from disk.