1. (communications) An abstraction referring to any flow of data from a source (or sender, producer) to a single sink (or receiver, consumer). A stream usually flows through a channel of some kind, as opposed to packets which may be addressed and routed independently, possibly to multiple recipients. Streams usually require some mechanism for establishing a channel or a "connection" between the sender and receiver.2. (programming) In the C language's buffered input/ouput library functions, a stream is associated with a file or device which has been opened using fopen. Characters may be read from (written to) a stream without knowing their actual source (destination) and buffering is provided transparently by the library routines. 3. (operating system) Confusingly, Sun have called their modular device driver mechanism "STREAMS". 4. (operating system) In IBM's AIX operating system, a stream is a full-duplex processing and data transfer path between a driver in kernel space and a process in user space. [IBM AIX 3.2 Communication Programming Concepts, SC23-2206-03]. 5. (communications) streaming. 6. (programming) lazy list.
Last updated: 1996-11-06