man baby () - create new process from two parents


baby - create new process from two parents


baby -sex [m|f] [-name name]


baby is initiated when one parent process polls another server process through a socket connection in the BSD version or through pipes in the System V implementation. baby runs at low priority for approximately forty weeks and then terminates with a heavy system load. Most systems require constant monitoring when baby reaches its final stages of execution.

Older implementations of baby did not require both initiating processes to be present at the time of completion. In those versions the initiating process which was not present was awakened and notified of the results upon completion. It has since been determined that the presence of both parent processes result in a generally lower system load at completion, and thus current versions of baby expect both parent processes to be active during the final stages.

Successful completion of baby results in the creation and naming of a new process. Parent processes then broadcast messages to all other processes, local and remote, informing them of their new status.


define the gender of the created process
assign the name name to the new process


baby -sex f -name Jacqueline

completed successfully on July 9, 1992 at 9:11pm. Jacqueline's vital statistics: 8 pounds 3 oz, 20 inches, long dark hair. The parent process, Kim Dunbar, is reportedly doing fine.


cigar(6), dump(5), cry(3).


Despite its complexity, baby only knows one signal, SIGCHLD, (or SIGCLD in the System V implementation), which it uses to contact the parent processes. One or both parent processes must then inspect the baby process to determine the cause of the signal.

The sleep(1) command may not work as expected on either parent process for some time afterward, as each new instance of baby sends intermittent signals to the parent processes which must be handled by the parents immediately.

A baby process will frequently dump core, requiring either or both parent processes to clean up after it.

Despite the reams of available documentation on invoking and maintaining baby, most parent processes are overwhelmed.


From a man page by Joe Beck, <>.