As there are many terms to such a large project like Elastos and Cyber Republic, we’ve decided to build a growing glossary of terms that can help the less technically acquainted understand better what the tech means and the impact it could have. This week we’re focusing on Daemon.

Term: Daemon

“In multitasking computer operating systems, a daemon (/?di?m?n/ or /?de?m?n/) is a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user…

“In a Unix environment, the parent process of a daemon is often, but not always, the init process. A daemon is usually either created by a process forking a child process and then immediately exiting, thus causing init to adopt the child process, or by the init process directly launching the daemon. In addition, a daemon launched by forking and exiting typically must perform other operations, such as dissociating the process from any controlling terminal (tty). Such procedures are often implemented in various convenience routines such as daemon(3) in Unix.

“Systems often start daemons at boot time which will respond to network requests, hardware activity, or other programs by performing some task. Daemons such as cron may also perform defined tasks at scheduled times.

“The term was coined by the programmers of MIT’s Project MAC. They took the name from Maxwell’s demon, an imaginary being from a thought experiment that constantly works in the background, sorting molecules. Unix systems inherited this terminology. Maxwell’s Demon is consistent with Greek mythology’s interpretation of a daemon as a supernatural being working in the background, with no particular bias towards good or evil. However, BSD and some of its derivatives have adopted a Christian demon as their mascot rather than a Greek daemon.

“Daemons which connect to a computer network are examples of network services.”


Layman’s Terms: Daemon

A daemon isn’t just an alternate spelling of demon, but a computing term for a process that runs at certain times and under certain conditions, often performing administrative tasks for the OS.  This is all done without the influence or interaction of the user, and this is also one of the most common vectors of cyber attacks.

The daemon is neither evil nor good, but since the daemon often has access to parts of the machine that are critical and related to security, the safety of the user’s operating system could be compromised if a malicious code gets control or alters the daemon.  Which is a fitting image, really.

Elastos creates a “sandboxed environment” which prevents this type of cyber attack; it remains one of the most important selling points to adopting Elastos technology.



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