Using standardized SI prefixes

Christof Krüger ubuntu at
Wed Jun 13 18:56:40 UTC 2007

On Wed, 2007-06-13 at 14:29 +0100, Scott James Remnant wrote:
> [...]
> And we still have many figures in both GB and GiB which are neither of
> the two!

okay ... reading on ...

> [...]
> I see no problem with this "1TB" quote being approximate.  It's
> rounded anyway.

So you don't care if it is approximate? Then you should care less if
it's even exact!

However, I find that tebibyte, gibibyte, mebibyte and kibibyte sound
quite familiar to their base-10 friends so that it should be no problem
even for a dumb user to understand its meaning if he already knew what a
gigabyte or megabyte is. This is especially the case with the short
notation (e.g. KiB vs. KB).

The more important case is when a user actually *cares* about the exact
At the moment base 10 and base 2 numbers are often prefixed both with k
for kilo, M for mega etc. This means that there will be confusion if
something is labeled 100GB.
Now consider introducing SI prefixes.
There still will be confusion with "100GB", because apparently not
everyone likes SI prefixes and continues using the "old" prefixes with
base 2 numbers. However, when something is labeled "100GiB", there is no
confusion (remember that we are talking about a user that cares about
the exact number, the dumb user will guess that GiB must be something
similar to GB).
Okay, so we gained some confidence about what is meant. How can we get
rid of the rest of uncertainty? Answer: Use the SI prefixes
consistently! This will take a while of course, but eventually you can
only benefit.

  Christof Krüger

More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list