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If I recall right you can determine some of the parameters a process was started with (in Windows it is stored in the Process Environment Block). Can I also find out what process started another one?

Example: My iTunes (memory eating "§$%&!) keeps reappearing even after I killed it and I wan't to know why. On the other hand I would find such knowledge useful in general and not only in this case ;-)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can find out the parent process of another process by opening Utilities » Activity Select the process, press Inspect.

Does't look too useful since almost everything in OS X is launched by launchd. I'm not sure there's anything better – I could be wrong though.

In the specific case of iTunes starting "by itself", it's probably due to a device being synced. Connect the iPad, iPhone, and uncheck "Open iTunes when this … is connected" in its settings.

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Or, when you're happen to be on a terminal (or just a click away), ps waxl and top show the PPID too. top can help you with process list too. – ott-- Jan 27 '12 at 12:38
Thank you! Both solutions work and the outcome is as predicted. I prefer the cli version ;-) iTunes is spawned because I have wireless-sync enabled. – er4z0r Jan 27 '12 at 22:52

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