Caution: This version of this document is no longer maintained. For the latest documentation, see


Create a new process


#include <sys/types.h>
#include <process.h>

pid_t fork( void );



Use the -l c option to qcc to link against this library. This library is usually included automatically.


The fork() function creates a new process. The new process (child process) is an exact copy of the calling process (parent process), except for the following:


A value of zero to the child process; and the process ID of the child process to the parent process. Both processes continue to execute from the fork() function. If an error occurs, fork() returns -1 to the parent and sets errno.


Insufficient resources are available to create the child process. For example, you might have exceeded the maximum number of processes permitted; see the RLIMIT_NPROC resource for getrlimit().
The process requires more memory than the system is able to supply.
The fork() function isn't implemented for this memory protection model. See also Caveats,” below.


 * This program executes the program and arguments
 * specified by argv[1..argc].  The standard input
 * of the executed program is converted to upper
 * case.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <ctype.h>
#include <process.h>
#include <sys/wait.h>

int main( int argc, char **argv )
    pid_t pid;
    pid_t wpid;
    int   fd[2];
    char  buffer[80];
    int   i, len;
    int   status;

    if( pipe( fd ) == -1 ) {
       perror( "pipe" );
       return EXIT_FAILURE;

    if( ( pid = fork() ) == -1 ) {
       perror( "fork" );
       return EXIT_FAILURE;

    if( pid == 0 ) {
      /* This is the child process.
       * Move read end of the pipe to stdin ( 0 ),
       * close any extraneous file descriptors,
       * then use exec to 'become' the command.
      dup2( fd[0], 0 );
      close( fd[1] );
      execvp( argv[1], argv+1 );

  /* This can only happen if exec fails; print message
   * and exit.
      perror( argv[1] );
      return EXIT_FAILURE;
    } else {
      /* This is the parent process.
       * Remove extraneous file descriptors,
       * read descriptor 0, write into pipe,
       * close pipe, and wait for child to die.
      close( fd[0] );
      while( ( len = read( 0, buffer, sizeof( buffer ) )
          ) > 0 ) {
        for( i = 0; i < len; i++ ) {
          if( isupper( buffer[i] ) )
            buffer[i] = tolower( buffer[i] );
        write( fd[1], buffer, len );
      close( fd[1] );
      do {
        wpid = waitpid( pid, &status, 0 );
      } while( WIFEXITED( status ) == 0 );
      return WEXITSTATUS( status );


POSIX 1003.1

Cancellation point No
Interrupt handler No
Signal handler Yes
Thread Yes


Currently, fork() is supported only in single-threaded applications. If you create a thread and then call fork(), the function returns -1 and sets errno to ENOSYS.

See also:

errno, execl(), execle(), execlp(), execlpe(), execv(), execve(), execvp(), execvpe(), spawn(), spawnl(), spawnle(), spawnlp(), spawnlpe(), spawnp(), spawnv(), spawnve(), spawnvp(), spawnvpe(), wait()

Processes and Threads chapter of Getting Started with QNX Neutrino