On the classic Mac OS (the original Apple Macintosh operating system), extensions were small pieces of code that extended the system's functionality. They were run initially at start-up time, and operated by a variety of mechanisms, including trap patching and other code modifying techniques. Initially an Apple developer hack, extensions became the standard way to provide a modular operating system. Large amounts of important system services such as the TCP/IP network stacks (MacTCP and Open Transport) and USB and FireWire support were optional components implemented as extensions. The phrase "system extension" later came to encompass faceless background applications as well.
Extensions generally filled the same role as DOS's terminate and stay resident programs, or Unix's daemons, although by patching the underlying OS code, they had the capability to modify existing OS behaviour, the other two did not.[dubious ]