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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
breath-of-life packet
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(XEROX PARC) An Ethernet packet that contains
bootstrap code, periodically sent out from a working
computer to infuse the "breath of life" into any computer on
the network that has crashed. Computers depending on such
packets have sufficient hardware or firmware code to wait for
(or request) such a packet during the reboot process.
The notional "kiss-of-death packet", with a function
complementary to that of a breath-of-life packet, is
recommended for dealing with hosts that consume too many
network resources. Though "kiss-of-death packet" is usually
used in jest, there is at least one documented instance of an
Internet subnet with limited address-table slots in a
gateway computer in which such packets were routinely used to
compete for slots, rather like Christmas shoppers competing
for scarce parking spaces.