background

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background

1. Art
a. the plane or ground in a picture upon which all other planes or forms appear superimposed
b. the parts of a picture that appear most distant
2. Physics low-intensity radiation as, for example, from small amounts of radioisotopes in soil, air, building materials, etc.
3. Electronics
a. unwanted effects, such as noise, occurring in a measuring instrument, electronic device, etc.
b. (as modifier): background interference

background

[′bak‚grau̇nd]
(communications)
Picture white of the facsimile copy being scanned when the picture is black and white only.
Undesired printing in the recorded facsimile copy of the picture being transmitted, resulting in shading of the background area.
Noise heard during radio reception caused by atmospheric interference or the operation of the receiver at such high gain that inherent tube and circuit noises become noticeable.

background

(operating system)
A task running in the background (a background task) is detached from the terminal where it was started (and often running at a lower priority); opposite of foreground. This means that the task's input and output must be from/to files (or other processes).

Nowadays this term is primarily associated with Unix, but it appears to have been first used in this sense on OS/360.

Compare amp off, batch, slopsucker.

background

(jargon)
For a human to do a task "in the background" is to do it whenever foreground matters are not claiming your undivided attention, and "to background" something means to relegate it to a lower priority. "For now, we'll just print a list of nodes and links; I'm working on the graph-printing problem in the background." Note that this implies ongoing activity but at a reduced level or in spare time, in contrast to mainstream "back burner" (which connotes benign neglect until some future resumption of activity). Some people prefer to use the term for processing that they have queued up for their unconscious minds (often a fruitful tack to take upon encountering an obstacle in creative work).

background

(1) The non-interactive processing in the computer. See foreground/background.

(2) The base, or backdrop color. In order to distinguish any image on screen, whether text or graphics, there must be a contrasting background color.