Starting an process ? or ping with code

Hi everyone !

I'm a newbie here. I'm trying to learn both C and to code with GNOME, So if i ask stupid questions, please be nice ;) I like GNOME so i decided that I want to give something back so I want to learn C and GTK from a GNOME perspective :) Now ... to my question:

I want to start a console command and be able to read it's output. so i can use the output in my program. Could someone give me an example or point me in the right direction to go. is there and libs for this? (and really ... what does it call that i want to do ??? fork ?)

Another option to my problem is that i can ping a adress to tell if it is still alive. Not by using "ping" as i want above but with code instead. even if i get an answer to this question (that would be best option i guess) I'm still interested in how to use fork (or what's it called) for other things :)

Thank you for helping

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