What does "ulimit -s unlimited" do?

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http://stackoverflow.com – There are understandably many related questions on stack allocation What and where are the stack and heap? Why is there a limit on the stack size? Size of stack and heap memory However on various *nix machines I can issue the bash command ulimit -s unlimited or the csh command set stacksize unlimited How does this change how programs are executed? Are there any impacts on program or system performance (e.g., why wouldn't this be the default)? In case more system details are relevant, I'm mostly concerned with programs compiled with GCC on Linux running on x86_64 hardware. (HowTos)