backward compatibility

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backward compatibility

[¦bak·wərd kəm‚pad·ə′bil·əd·ē]
(computer science)

backward compatibility

(jargon)
Able to share data or commands with older versions of itself, or sometimes other older systems, particularly systems it intends to supplant. Sometimes backward compatibility is limited to being able to read old data but does not extend to being able to write data in a format that can be read by old versions.

For example, WordPerfect 6.0 can read WordPerfect 5.1 files, so it is backward compatible. It can be said that Perl is backward compatible with awk, because Perl was (among other things) intended to replace awk, and can, with a converter, run awk programs.

See also: backward combatability.

Compare: forward compatible.
References in periodicals archive ?
Media removability and backward-compatibility dramatically reduce the need for frequent data migration, helping optical storage achieve an exceptionally low Total Cost of Ownership, as low as one-tenth the cost of competing technology solutions.
The DTX standard will take advantage of the existing ATX infrastructure and benefits, including cost efficiency, system options and backward-compatibility, to allow for ground-breaking PC design.
0 specification compliance--incorporating advanced MIMO (Multiple-In, Multiple-Out) technology to deliver incredible speed & range--while maintaining full backward-compatibility with the IEEE802.
11g connections, these high-speed Powerline devices provide backward-compatibility to standard Powerline devices and 802.
This backward-compatibility and extensive ecosystem support helps to preserve software investments, minimize development overhead and speed time-to-market.
Cost Savings -- Broadcasters looking at next-generation systems are presented with a variety of options that seem to require a choice between new features and backward-compatibility.
Mindspeed's state-of-the-art SHDSL technology, combined with high flexibility and backward-compatibility, gives us the ability to deploy our systems in key, emerging markets such as Europe -- especially Eastern Europe -- and Asia.
11b wireless devices offer, while maintaining full backward-compatibility with existing 802.
Spacial Audio Solutions has chosen mp3PRO for its initial release for mp3PRO's consumer appeal and backward-compatibility with standard mp3 files.
For businesses with growing investments in 1Gb or 2Gb storage networks, 4Gb products from these vendors will double current Fibre Channel performance at about the same price as 2Gb Fibre Channel, while maintaining backward-compatibility with existing networks and storage.
5 inch MO products remain popular within our distribution channels because they offer particular value-add in the medical imaging field, due to the necessity for archivability, and full backward-compatibility to older, lower capacity MO disks.
Full backward-compatibility ensures a smooth, "no risk" migration to the latest SCSI technology.