vfork(2) - NetBSD Manual Pages

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VFORK(2)                  NetBSD System Calls Manual                  VFORK(2)

vfork -- spawn new process in a virtual memory efficient way
Standard C Library (libc, -lc)
#include <unistd.h> pid_t vfork(void);
The vfork system call creates a new process that does not have a new vir- tual address space, but rather shares address space with the parent, thus avoiding potentially expensive copy-on-write operations normally associ- ated 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 structures in the parent process. (Even with fork(2) it is wrong to call exit(3) since buffered data would then be flushed twice.)
Same as for fork(2).
Same as for fork(2).
execve(2), fork(2), sigaction(2), wait(2)
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.
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. NetBSD 6.0 January 3, 1998 NetBSD 6.0
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