compatible(n) Indicates that a product can work with or is equivalent to another, better-known product. The term is often used as a shorthand for IBM-compatible PC , a computer that is compatible with an IBM PC. Another term for a compatible is clone.
(adj) The ability of one device or program to work with another device or program. The term compatible implies different degrees of partnership. For example, a printer and a computer are said to be compatible if they can be connected to each other. An IBM compatible PC, on the other hand, is a computer that can run the same software as an IBM PC.
Compatibility of two devices, such as printers, usually means that they react to software commands in the same way. Some printers achieve compatibility by tricking the software into believing that the printer is a different machine. This is called emulation.
Be aware, however, that hardware compatibility does not always extend to expansion slots. For example, two compatible printers may not accept the same font cartridges. Complete hardware compatibility is denoted by the term plug compatible.
Software products are compatible if they use the same data formats. For example, many programs are compatible with dBASE. This means that the files they produce can easily be transformed into a dBASE database or that they can import dBASE files.
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free weekly newsletter from Webopedia. Join to subscribe now.
From cute electronic toys to VR gaming, here are 5 hot gifts to give to your special tech enthusiast this holiday season. Read More »What's Hot in Tech: AI Tops the List
Like everything in technology, AI touches on so many other trends, like self-driving cars and automation, and Big Data and the Internet of Things... Read More »DevOp's Role in Application Security
As organizations rush to release new applications, security appears to be getting short shrift. DevSecOps is a new approach that holds promise. Read More »
Java is a high-level programming language. This guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of syntax, variables, data types and... Read More »Java Basics, Part 2
This second Study Guide describes the basics of Java, providing an overview of operators, modifiers and control Structures. Read More »The 7 Layers of the OSI Model
The Open System Interconnection (OSI) model defines a networking framework to implement protocols in seven layers. Use this handy guide to compare... Read More »