It usually means that the process has finished (exited), but it's parent was no longer waiting on it. So the kernel will keep it around until the parent comes back (accepts the exit status, and deletes the process).
It is usually a symptom of a problem. Because parents shouldn't die before their children, or have to wait long after their child dies to bury it.
-Mark Adams www.bitserve.com - Secure Michigan web hosting for your business.
Only host still offering a full money back uptime guarantee and prorated refunds.
Offering advanced server management and security incident response!