Agnostic (non-theological)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Feb 5 14:26:40 UTC 2008

At 2/4/2008 11:19 PM, Jeff Prucher wrote:
>"Agnostic" in a non-theological sense has been used in the software
>world for at least a few years (from personal experience, anyway --
>I haven't tried to do a deep search on this). In my understanding of
>the term, if a program is hardware agnostic, it should be able to
>run without regard to the hardware it's being run on; i.e, the
>software "doesn't know" what the hardware is. A Google search on
>"agnostic program" yields a slew of relevant results.

When I invented a related idea (for peripheral devices) I called it
"device independence".  No wonder my company didn't adopt it -- too
prosaic a name.  But when Microsoft called it "Plug and Play", ... .

And when the idea of "agnostic software" arose -- at MIT in the 50s,
I think -- it was with the concept of a "virtual machine" -- the
"machine" the software required was not any specific hardware, but an
abstraction that then would be implemented on various "physical" machines.


The American Dialect Society -

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