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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
big-endian
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1. data, architecture A computer architecture in which,
within a given multi-byte numeric representation, the most
significant byte has the lowest address (the word is stored
"big-end-first").
Most processors, including the IBM 370 family, the PDP-10,
the Motorola microprocessor families, and most of the
various RISC designs current in mid-1993, are big-endian.
See -endian.
2. networking, standard A backward electronic mailaddress. The world now follows the Internet hostname
standard (see FQDN) and writes e-mail addresses starting
with the name of the computer and ending up with the countrycode (e.g. fred@doc.acme.ac.uk). In the United Kingdom the
Joint Networking Team decided to do it the other way round
(e.g. me@uk.ac.wigan.cs) before the Internet domain
standard was established. Most gateway sites required
ad-hockery in their mailers to handle this.
By July 1994 this parochial idiosyncracy was on the way out
and mailers started to reject big-endian addresses. By about
1996, people would look at you strangely if you suggested such
a bizarre thing might ever have existed.