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NIST SP 800-46

(Patch) An update (sometimes called a "patch") is a "repair" for a piece of software (application or operating system). During a piece of software's life, problems (called bugs) will almost invariably be found. A patch is the immediate solution that is provided to users; it can sometimes be downloaded from the software vendor's web site. The patch is not necessarily the best solution for the problem, and the product developers often find a better solution to provide when they package the product for its next release. A patch is usually developed and distributed as a replacement for or an insertion in compiled code (that is, in a binary file or object module). In larger operating systems, a special program is provided to manage and keep track of the installation of patches.