backward compatibility

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Related to Backward-compatible: Downward compatibility

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 ?
Government satellite systems," said Jim Summers, President of SafeNet Mykotronx, "The crypto-modern enhancements contained within these new versions of our Type 1 ground units increase key security, maintain backward-compatible with legacy systems, and adds new capabilities which permits the units to migrate seamlessly into the Electronic Key Management System.
AMD64 technology is backward-compatible and that means our customers don't have to overhaul their IT systems to run both today's 32-bit applications and next-generation 64-bit applications.
Backward-compatible with previous versions, SLIM Suite 6.
Importantly, unlike those of its major competitor in the market, FaxStar's solutions are backward-compatible with virtually all fax and email systems, including those of companies that may have since ceased operations," he said.
SAN DIEGO -- Coding Technologies' HDC Surround Enables HD Radio(TM) Broadcasters to Transmit Backward-Compatible, Surround-Sound
DTS Coherent Acoustics, first introduced into the market in 1996, was designed to be both extensible and backward-compatible based on its core + extension structure.
The result is a low-cost, backward-compatible solution that can significantly reduce engineering and PTT compliance costs, while easing the design and manufacturing process.
The FAN5019 is pin- and function backward-compatible with Fairchild's FAN53168 and FAN53180 controllers, and the FAN5009 is pin- and function backward-compatible with the FAN53418 driver.
The new device is backward-compatible with the company's large installed base of original ZipWire SDSL modem solutions that operate in 2B1Q mode.