(operating system) A process created by another process (the parent process). Each process may create many child processes but will have only one parent process, except for the very first process which has no parent. The first process, called init in Unix, is started by the kernel at boot time and never terminates. A child process inherits most of its attributes, such as open files, from its parent. In fact in Unix, a child process is created (using fork) as a copy of the parent. The chid process can then overlay itself with a different program (using exec) as required.
Last updated: 1997-11-22