What is Zombie process and How to create zombie process in Linux ?

Zombie process is the process which died immediately and whose parent didn’t cared to handled the status of child death. When a child process exits, it is not immediately cleared off the process table. Instead, a signal is sent to its parent process, which needs to acknowledge it’s child’s death, and only then the child process is completely removed from the system. If a parent is not written by taking care of handling acknowledgement from child, the child becomes zombie.

Such process’s continues to run in


state till the parent is exited completely.

$ vim create_zombie.c
int main(int argc, char **argv) {
        pid_t child_pid;
        int child_status;

        child_pid = fork();
        switch (child_pid) {
                case -1:
                        printf("error: we can use perror\n");
                case 0:
                        printf("child is getting dead immediately\n");
                        printf("parent process continuing to execute, but not cared of child is dead or alive\n");
                        sleep (180);
        return 0;

you can run below program as,

$ gcc -o our_zombie_child create_zombie.c
$ ./our_zombie_child

This program makes parent goes sleep for 180 sec, meantime child has already died, but parent process doesn’t handles the child’s death since it was already in sleep ( normally this child death report needs to handled using signal in parent process )

so now, you can open another terminal and type

$ ps -ax | grep defunct
5208 pts/1    Z+     0:00 [our_zombie_chil] defunct

where “ps” command showed, child process which we created became zombie. [ as indicated by defunct ]

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