Re: "Platform" vs. "OS"?

Subject: Re: "Platform" vs. "OS"?
From: hedley_finger -at- myob -dot- com -dot- au
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2003 18:24:05 +1100


> > The client's docs refer to Windows and Macintosh as platforms. In
> > addition to straightening out their belief that Windows is a
> > computer, what's your understanding regarding usage of these terms?
> >
> > My experience is that a platform refers to Macintosh, Dell, or
> > Toshiba, whereas OS refers to UNIX, Windows, or Mac OS.
> >
> My understanding is as follows:
> From the Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, Third Edition:
> platform
> n. 1. The foundation technology of a computer system. Because computers
> layered devices composed of a chip-level hardware layer, a firmware and
> operating-system layer, and an applications program layer, the bottommost
> layer of a machine is often called a platform. 2. In everyday usage, the
> of computer or operating system being used.
> Bonnie Granat

I would suggest that "platform" refers to both the hardware AND the OS.
Point: Linux runs on Intel and PowerPC but an application that runs on
Linux (Intel) may not run on Linux (PowerPC) if the manufacturer has not
provided a binary or the means to roll your own.

Also consider Solaris (SPARC and Intel processors), Intel processors
(Windows, Linux, and Solaris). So what 'platform' means to your reader may
well be determined by what you are trying to say about the product's
OS/hardware compatibility.


Hedley Finger
Technical Communications/Technical communicator and FrameMaker mentor
MYOB Australia <>
P.O. box 371 Blackburn VIC 3130 Australia
12 Wesley Court Tally Ho Business Park East Burwood VIC 3151
<mailto:hedley_finger -at- myob -dot- com -dot- au>
Tel. +61 3 9222 9992 x 7421, Mob. (cell) +61 412 461 558

(C) MYOB Limited 2002


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