Devel update

Christopher Chan christopher.chan at
Thu Jun 11 02:19:41 BST 2009

Nils Kassube wrote:
> Chan Chung Hang Christopher wrote without attribution:
>>> /me raises hand. But _please_ don't introduce another nonsense unit
>>> like KB - it is _kB_ with lower case k.
>> Haha, there is no set standard on that now is there? I mean, I see KG
>> and kg for example. Or KM and km.
> Yes, there is [1], [2] - you were even talking about SI prefixes 
> yourself in your previous mail :)
> If you read somewhere "KG" or "KM" it is wrong in both cases or even 
> double wrong in both cases because the unit for mass is "kg" and the 
> unit for length with the prefix for 1000 is "km". I know that is 
> pedantic, but if Ubuntu wants to move to correct use of units and 
> prefixes it should not be half correct :)
Thanks for the references. I guess that just means that the standards 
are not that well known when it comes to shortforms. Hmm, now that I 
think about it, I wonder if anybody actually knows what mega means if 
you ask them. After all, I have yet to hear someone say 1 Mm. :-D

>>>> Hands up those who want Ubuntu to wait till there is an operating
>>>> system standard like POSIX that declares convention dead and
>>>> standards are in vogue.
>>> Someone has to make the first move. And Linux is already moving in
>>> the right direction, the kernel uses binary prefixes for many
>>> years. Good luck if you want to make all (or even only all
>>> Unix-like) operating systems switch from bad habits to standards
>>> compliance. I'm not sure if POSIX is relevant for the desktop at
>>> all. It may be important for the command line to keep existing
>>> scripts working.
>> Why should not posix be relevant for the desktop too? Maybe it won't
>> cover everything on the desktop but at least having the command line
>> utilities reporting sizes of bytes in one particular form and meaning
>> would encourage desktop apps to follow suit and therefore not be a
>> cause for confusion.
> I probably should have written it in another way. With desktop I meant 
> all those GUI applications like browser, spread sheet, word processing 
> etc. which are tasks without the command line. As I understand it, those 
> apps aren't covered by POSIX. At least the Wikipedia entry [3] only 
> talks about APIs and CLI applications.
Whoopee. Someone else just brushed off my remark about a website 
reporting a file for download being X MB in size but the browser 
reporting Y MB downloaded. That gives the impression of a corrupt file 
unless you know what is going on. Oh that is because of blah blah blah. 
Guess what? Later on, they won't care about files not matching the size 
and they will eventually download some trojaned file thinking nothing of 
the difference in size.

>> If the user
>> likes base2 kibibytes fine. If the user likes base 10 kilobytes, that
>> is fine too. I don't care which one is used. All I care is that it be
>> consistent across all operating systems. 
> Sure, "consistent across all operating systems" would be nice but I 
> don't expect that to happen within the next decade. IMHO a good start 
> would be "consistent across _one_ operating system".
If nobody tries to get that through something like POSIX then yeah, we 
could wait till the cows come home.

>> I don't want to have to work
>> out whether they are using legacy KB or proper KB. (switching
>> everything to KiB looks very workable at the confusion
>> but won't solve the problem or worse, could lead to stagnation of
>> correct the units and maybe even introduce KB = KiB thinking)
> I think KiB etc. is a good solution as a default display. That makes it 
> clear to the (knowing) user which prefix is used. I would prefer to see 
> decimal prefixes but unfortunately we never really know if it is correct 
> use of decimal prefixes or misuse of decimal prefixes for binary 
> multiples.

And that will defeat the whole purpose of fixing the SI prefix mess 
which is to get base10 units in front of the common user and which is 
entire reason we have people wanting to go back to standards and 
dropping convention. Nah, POSIX is the way to go.

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