In multitasking computer operating systems, a daemon is a computer program that runs as a background process, rather than being under the direct control of an interactive user. Traditionally, the process names of a daemon end with the letter d, for clarification that the process is, in fact, a daemon, and for differentiation between a daemon and a normal computer program. For example, syslogd is the daemon that implements the system logging facility,
and sshd is a daemon that services incoming SSH connections.
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 in Unix.
Systems often start daemons at boot time and serve the function of responding to network requests, hardware activity, or other programs by performing some task. Daemons can also configure hardware, run scheduled tasks (like cron), and perform a variety of other tasks.