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Patching makes possible the modification of compiled and machine language object programs when the source code is unavailable. This demands a thorough understanding of the inner workings of the object code by the person creating the patch, which is difficult without close study of the source code. Someone unfamiliar with the program being patched may install a patch using a patch utility created by another person who is the Admin. Even when the source code is available, patching makes possible the installation of small changes to the object program without the need to recompile or reassemble. For minor changes to software, it is often easier and more economical to distribute patches to users rather than redistributing a newly recompiled or reassembled program.
Cold Fear English Language Patch
In the case of operating systems and computer server software, patches have the particularly important role of fixing security holes. Some critical patches involve issues with drivers. Patches may require prior application of other patches, or may require prior or concurrent updates of several independent software components. To facilitate updates, operating systems often provide automatic or semi-automatic updating facilities. Completely automatic updates have not succeeded in gaining widespread popularity in corporate computing environments, partly because of the aforementioned glitches, but also because administrators fear that software companies may gain unlimited control over their computers. Package management systems can offer various degrees of patch automation.
In open-source projects, the authors commonly receive patches or many people publish patches that fix particular problems or add certain functionality, like support for local languages outside the project's locale. In an example from the early development of the Linux kernel (noted for publishing its complete source code), Linus Torvalds, the original author, received hundreds of thousands of patches from many programmers to apply against his original version.