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[pawr-tuh-bil-i-tee, pohr-] /ˌpɔr təˈbɪl ɪ ti, ˌpoʊr-/
noun, plural portabilities for 2.
the state or quality of being portable.
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.
1965-70; port(able) + -ability
Related forms
nonportability, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for portability
  • It represents a trend towards portability and miniaturization as our technology gets better.
  • It would fit right in in almost any backyard and the portability helps distribute the fertilizer.
  • Books on paper have the great advantage of portability and easy access.
  • One key and ambitious innovation was the idea of portability.
  • In the end, though, openness in technology is essentially about portability and ownership.
  • It offers the convenience and portability of cash, but more so.
  • But that even still leaves open the portability of it being an enemy that is not yet an enemy to run a candidate.
  • Among other reasons, oil has been valuable because of its portability as a concentrated source of energy.
  • The portability of star knowledge workers' performance.
  • portability and shelf life are as important as flavor and nutrition.
portability in Technology
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).
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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