system software

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system software

[′sis·təm ′sȯft‚wer]
(computer science)
Computer software involved with data and program management, including operating systems, control programs, and database management systems.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

system software

(operating system)
Any software required to support the production or execution of application programs but which is not specific to any particular application.

System software typically includes an operating system to control the execution of other programs; user environment software such as a command-line interpreter, window system, desktop; development tools for building other programs such as assemblers, compilers, linkers, libraries, interpreters, cross-reference generators, version control, make; debugging, profiling and monitoring tools; utility programs, e.g. for sorting, printing, and editting.

Different people would classify some or all of the above as part of the operating system while others might say the operating system was just the kernel. Some might say system software includes utility programs like sort.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

system software

Software used to control the computer and develop and run applications. It includes programs such as operating systems, database managers, compilers, Web servers, router operating systems and control programs for other network devices. Contrast with application program.

The following diagram shows the flow between system software and application software residing in memory in a multiuser computer. The operating system (OS), TP monitor, database manager and interpreter are considered system software. The applications and interactive DBMS query and edit would be considered application software.

System Software and Application Interaction
This diagram shows the interaction between the system software and application software running in memory.

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