Using standardized SI prefixes

Scott James Remnant scott at
Tue Jun 12 08:24:11 UTC 2007

On Tue, 2007-06-12 at 09:37 +0200, Christof Kr├╝ger wrote:

> Another "historic" example is a floppy-MB:
> A 1.44MB floppy disc can store 1,474,560 Bytes, that is 1440 KiB and
> 1.40625 MiB or approximately 1475KB or 1.48MB with kilo=10^3 and
> mega=10^6.
> However, these floppies were known as "1.44MB"-floppies. (MB meaning
> 1000 times 1024 bytes). Very consistent!
The difference is a sufficiently small percentage, that most users will
not care.  In fact, the only people who ever seem to care enough to know
that a 1.44MB floppy disk is actually 1.48 Million Bytes are geeks.

I don't think it's the differing scale of units that confuse people,
changing KB to KiB everywhere where you don't use kB -- I think it's the
reality of having differencing scales in the first place that's

Changing the unit prefixes is just a geek "precision" gratification that
will confuse everybody who is used to talking about "kilobytes", "and

	"My computer has two gigabytes of RAM!"
	"Aha!  No it doesn't!"
	"It says two gigabytes."
	"No, you mean two gibibytes!  A gigabyte is ten-to-the-nice
	 bytes, whereas a gibibyte is two-to-the-thirty bytes!"
	"Ow!  You broke my nose!"

Scott James Remnant
Ubuntu Development Manager
scott at
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