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Definition: software stack


(1) A set of programs that provides the software infrastructure for a computer. The software stack differs for clients and servers.

Clients - OS and Related Utilities
The stack in a client machine includes the operating system and all runtime environments necessary to support the applications, such as Java (see Java Virtual Machine). The stack may include the applications, although that is generally considered an application stack.

Servers Employ Services
For servers, the stack includes the operating system and generally database software. If Web based, whether public or private, a variety of "services" software is included, such as Web server, mail server and FTP server. See LAMP, stack, full stack developer and protocol stack.

(2) A list of addresses or calculations that is implemented in memory rather than in hardware registers. See stack and register.