[pawr-tuh-bil-i-tee, pohr-] /ˌpɔr təˈbɪl ɪ ti, ˌpoʊr-/
noun, plural portabilities for 2.
the state or quality of being .
a plan or system under which employees may accumulate pension rights under any employer who is a participant in the plan negotiated with their union.
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).
[pawr-tuh-buh l, pohr-] /ˈpɔr tə bəl, ˈpoʊr-/ adjective 1. capable of being transported or conveyed: a portable stage. 2. easily carried or conveyed by hand: a portable typewriter. 3. Computers. (of data sets, software, etc.) capable of being used on different computer systems. 4. Obsolete. . noun 5. something that is portable, especially as distinguished […]
- Portable airtime
communications, wireless A wireless, digital communications system enabling user-to-user voice communication, “quicknotes”, and alphanumeric messaging. [Details?] (2000-12-07)
- Portable commodore 64
computer A version of the Commodore 64 modelled after the original Osborne portable PCs, with a flip-down keyboard that revealed a 5-inch colour monitor, and a built-in 1541 floppy disk drive. It is thought that few were made but that they did go on sale, at least in Canada. [Relationship to Commodore 65?] (1997-09-14)
- Portable common loops
(PCL) A language which started out as an implementation of CommonLoops and turned into a portable CLOS implementation. Version 1992-08-28. It runs under Lucid Common LISP 4.0.1 and CMU Common LISP 16e. (ftp://parcftp.xerox.com/pcl). (1992-09-02) [Was it developed by Richard Harris firstname.lastname@example.org?]