Using standardized SI prefixes

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at
Thu Jun 14 17:31:19 UTC 2007

Ivan Jager <aij+nospam at> writes:

> On Thu, 14 Jun 2007, Ben Finney wrote:
> > Since we *can* give a perfectly precise quantity of bytes and
> > other digital phenomena, and often do, this is even more reason to
> > use the precise meaning of the units for those quantities.
> Ok, so this applies to dd and what else?

It applies to any software that refers to quantities that use these
units. Pick a unit for the quantity, base-10 or base-2, and use its
precise meaning and the precise term for it.

> I thought this argument was mostly about measured sizes anyways,
> such as what you would get from ls -lh, df -h, du -h, or their GUI
> equivalents. These are all rounded.

Any time the software says "GB" when the quantity was actually
calculated in 2^30, or says "GiB" when the quantity was actually
calculated in 10^9, the units are mismatched. Whether the quantity was
rounded is irrelevant to this fact.

> While 10^9 <> 2**30, I find the later to be a much more useful
> number on a computer.

Nothing in this proposal speaks against using 2^30 bytes as a unit of
measure. The only thing wrong would be to refer to the unit as "GB",
because that isn't 2^30 bytes. The only unambiguous standard
abbreviation for that unit is "GiB".

 \     "Many are stubborn in pursuit of the path they have chosen, few |
  `\                  in pursuit of the goal."  -- Friedrich Nietzsche |
_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney

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