See Bug 2580 http://subversion.tigris.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=2580 Basically as of revision 35533 http://svn.collab.net/viewvc/svn?view=revision&revision=35533 (which means Subversion release 1.6.0 and later), Subversion creates zombie processes whenever it accesses a repository via the svn+ssh scheme on unixen (i.e. Linux, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.) For a non-command line client, such as a Subversion GUI, that stays running for a while this is a big problem as system resources get exhausted as the number of unreaped zombies piles up while the process continues to run. For command line clients that generally exit right after performing the repository access, the operating system reaps the zombies on behalf of the exiting process thereby masking the problem. Please fix this ASAP. Bug 2580 http://subversion.tigris.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=2580 has extensive details about this including some suggested patches to fix the problem.