= P =
As used by hackers, this never refers to
niceties about the proper form for addressing letters to the Papal
Nuncio or the order in which one should use the forks in a
Russian-style place setting; hackers don't care about such things.
It is used instead to describe any set of rules that allow
different machines or pieces of software to coordinate with each
other without ambiguity. So, for example, it does include niceties
about the proper form for addressing packets on a network or the
order in which one should use the forks in the Dining Philosophers
Problem. It implies that there is some common message format and
an accepted set of primitives or commands that all parties involved
understand, and that transactions among them follow predictable
logical sequences. See also handshaking, do protocol.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.