dragon: n.

[MIT] A program similar to a daemon, except that it is not invoked at all, but is instead used by the system to perform various secondary tasks. A typical example would be an accounting program, which keeps track of who is logged in, accumulates load-average statistics, etc. Under ITS, many terminals displayed a list of people logged in, where they were, what they were running, etc., along with some random picture (such as a unicorn, Snoopy, or the Enterprise), which was generated by the ‘name dragon’. Usage: rare outside MIT — under Unix and most other OSes this would be called a background demon or daemon. The best-known Unix example of a dragon is cron(1). At SAIL, they called this sort of thing a phantom.

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