'Universal Binary' is Misleading

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Posted on February 24, 2006 10:16 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I read a post over at Forever Geek tonight that used the term "Universal Binary" several times. I've seen this term mentioned quite a few times elsewhere on the web lately, and so tonight I decided to look up what Universal Binary means. In short, Universal Binary is the terminology used to describe...

...an executable file that runs natively on both PowerPC- and x86 (Intel)-based Macintosh computers.

I know Apple die-hards often consider the world of Apple computers the only world (the same can be said of some Windows and/or Linux users), but even so, isn't the use of "Universal" in the term "Universal Binary" a little misleading?

Given that I had no idea what a Universal Binary was, my initial guess was that it was some sort of new binary that had been developed that could run on Linux and Windows (I didn't even think to add Macs to the equation...guess that shows what world I live in). Perhaps that was a bit naive on my part, but I feel less stupid now that I've found out what it really is.

I suppose the technology community isn't exactly known for coming up with intuitive naming (think RSS, CSS or "tarball" for example), but it's one thing to be unintuitive and a completely different thing to be misleading.

Oh, and what will we call that binary that actually does run on all the major operating systems? Maybe the Really Universal Binary? ;)

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