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breath-of-life packet /n./ [XEROX PARC] An Ethernet packet
that contains bootstrap (see boot) code, periodically sent out
from a working computer to infuse the `breath of life' into any
computer on the network that has happened to crash. Machines
depending on such packets have sufficient hardware or firmware code
to wait for (or request) such a packet during the reboot process.
See also dickless workstation.
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 machine in which such packets were
routinely used to compete for slots, rather like Christmas shoppers
competing for scarce parking spaces.
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