reachability of a host vs. the reachability of a host


Source: UNIX System Administration—A Beginner's Guide by Steve Maxwell (2002)


This is useful so that the user can quickly determine reachability of a host without wasting additional time or network bandwidth.

If I had to write that passage, I'd personally use the article: the reachability of a host. It just sounds better to me that way. I think, that's because we're dealing with something specific here, but what are your thoughts on this?

Michael Rybkin

Posted 2017-01-18T02:12:46.717

Reputation: 37 124



You're right, "the" helps a lot. But if I were to write the sentence, I would write instead "whether the host can be reached". I'm not crazy about "reachability", since it's not really a word in the standard dictionary.

Let me guess, this is related to the "ping" function?


Posted 2017-01-18T02:12:46.717

Reputation: 85 521

Yes, it's talking about the ping command-line utility. I wouldn't call a function though. – Michael Rybkin – 2017-01-24T07:49:07.400

@CookieMonster I guess it depends on what you think a "function" is. In strict programming terms "ping" is a kind of a function, but you're right that it's better described as a "utility" because it has so many input options. But if you ask a different CS person you might get a different answer. – Andrew – 2017-01-24T17:32:34.043

Well, as I said "ping" is a command-line utility. It has nothing to do with programming. – Michael Rybkin – 2017-01-24T19:11:05.157

@CookieMonster Ah, well, I think you need to expand what you think of as a "program". Ping was written by Mike Muuss in 1983 and works so well that it's been included in almost every OS since. It is a thousand lines of programming code, although I'm not sure which language it was originally written in.

– Andrew – 2017-01-24T19:33:54.480