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utility software

utility software in Technology

(Or utility program, tool) Any software that performs some specific task that is secondary to the main purpose of using the computer (the latter would be called application programs) but is not essential to the operation of the computer (system software).
Many utilities could be considered as part of the system software, which can in turn be considered part of the operating system.
The following are some broad categories of utility software, specific types and examples.
* Disks
disk formatter: FDISK, format
disk checker: fsck
disk cleaner
system profiler
file system compression
* Files and directories
list directory: ls, dir
copy, move, remove: cp, mv, rm, xcopy
archive: tar
compression: zip
format conversion: atob
comparison: diff
sort: sort
* Security
authentication: login
antivirus software: avast, Norton Antivirus
firewall: Zone Alarm, Windows firewall
encryption: gpg)
* Editors for general-purpose formats (as opposed to specific formats like a word processing document)
text editor: Emacs
binary editor, hex editor
* Communications
mail transfer agent: sendmail
e-mail notification: biff
file transfer: ftp, rcp, Firefox
file synchronisation: unison, briefcase
chat: Gaim, cu
directory services: bind, nslookup, whois
network diagnosis: ping, traceroute
remote access: rlogin, ssh
* Software development
compiler: gcc
build: make, ant
preprocessor: cpp
debugger: adb, gdb
installation: apt-get, msiexec, patch
compiler compiler: yacc
* Hardware
device configuration: PCU, devman, stty

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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