What Does Kludge Mean?

A kludge is generally defined as a poorly set up system with mismatched parts or elements, a clumsy construction that might work, but does not work particularly well. This term, and its spelling variant “kluge,” have become ways to talk about clunky or disjointed IT systems.


Techopedia Explains Kludge

Since IT architectures are often complex and composed of many parts, it makes sense to have a word to talk about a system that is not composed well. For example, in the older days of desktop computers with removable components, someone might talk about a computer tower with a mishmash of less compatible PCI slot cards as a “kludge.” To take a more modern example, someone in this day and age might talk about a hardware virtualization platform with poorly set up virtual machines and less compatible administrative software as a “kludge.” The use of the term has changed along with changes in modern technology, but it has not become less useful in talking about poorly calibrated or composed systems.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.