Nmap (Network Mapper) is a security scanner originally written by Gordon Lyon (also known by his pseudonym Fyodor Vaskovich) used to discover hosts and services on a computer network, thus creating a "map" of the network. To accomplish its goal, Nmap sends specially crafted packets to the target host and then analyzes the responses.
The software provides a number of features for probing computer networks, including host discovery and service and operating system detection. These features are extensible by scripts that provide more advanced service detection, vulnerability detection, and other features. Nmap is also capable of adapting to network conditions including latency and congestion during a scan. Nmap is under development and refinement by its user community.
Nmap was originally a Linux-only utility, but it was ported to Windows, Solaris, HP-UX, BSD variants (including OS X), AmigaOS, and IRIX. Linux is the most popular platform, followed closely by Windows.