portability


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Related to portability: Number portability

portability

[‚pȯrd·ə′bil·əd·ē]
(computer science)
Property of a computer program that is sufficiently flexible to be easily transferred to run on a computer of a type different from the one for which it was designed.

portability

(operating system, programming)
The ease with which a piece of software (or file format) can be "ported", i.e. made to run on a new platform and/or compile with a new compiler.

The most important factor is the language in which the software is written and the most portable language is almost certainly C (though see Vaxocentrism for counterexamples). This is true in the sense that C compilers are available for most systems and are often the first compiler provided for a new system. This has led several compiler writers to compile other languages to C code in order to benefit from its portability (as well as the quality of compilers available for it).

The least portable type of language is obviously assembly code since it is specific to one particular (family of) processor(s). It may be possible to translate mechanically from one assembly code (or even machine code) into another but this is not really portability. At the other end of the scale would come interpreted or semi-compiled languages such as LISP or Java which rely on the availability of a portable interpreter or virtual machine written in a lower level language (often C for the reasons outlined above).

The act or result of porting a program is called a "port". E.g. "I've nearly finished the Pentium port of my big bang simulation."

Portability is also an attribute of file formats and depends on their adherence to standards (e.g. ISO 8859) or the availability of the relevant "viewing" software for different platforms (e.g. PDF).
References in periodicals archive ?
Even if no estate tax is due upon the death of a first-to-die spouse, the executor of the estate must elect portability by filing an estate tax return on Form 706 within nine months of death.
The BFX Interface Gateway provides such a single, unified access point for number portability in the network, allowing service providers to streamline look-up access to number and address registries.
Also, consumers are advised to be aware of their bill issuing date (or Billing Cycle) with their current service provider, to submit the number portability request at least two days prior to the end of this period, in order to avoid double billing from both operators.
Using portability can be simple and inexpensive but there are no guarantees that a proper election will be made.
An executor has some leeway in the portability decisions, which can be a problem if there is bad blood between the survivors (for example, if the executor is a child from the decedent's first marriage and is dealing with portability for his parent's second spouse).
Number portability is always in the consumers' interest, and in every country the challenge is whether the government and competitors can overcome the incumbent's willingness to cooperate.
With portability, A's unused $5,250,000 estate exclusion is added to B's $5,340,000 exclusion, giving B a $10,590,000 exclusion and, thus, no liability for federal estate tax.
Unfortunately, portability is inapplicable to generation-skipping transfer (GST) taxes.
Ahmed Jaber Aldoseri, ICT director and number portability project manager of Bahrain TRA, said: "Number portability, whether fixed or mobile, is firmly considered by TRA as a consumer right.
Another factor is that carriers offering portability do not generally play up the feature when someone needs it.
The TRA Strategic and Retail Market Review document published in February identified number portability as one of the key measures to improve competition in the kingdom and ensure that subscribers' choice is not hindered by unnecessary barriers, including restriction to transfer their number to their new service provider.
Operators with networks deployed in Australia, Germany, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States have proven that they can profitably offer broadband services that are as fast or faster than DSL and cable services, at prices that either meet or beat the fixed line technologies, while offering the differentiating factors of mobility or portability and a very simple plug-and-play installation.