Ubuntu Policy: prefixes for multiples of units

Chris Jones cmsj at tenshu.net
Thu Sep 25 11:02:55 UTC 2008


Neal McBurnett wrote:
> Abandoning sensible international standards, and basing our software
> instead on the whims of marketing people writing advertising copy for
> packaging, which varies by manufacturer and time and culture, will
> cause us much chaos.

IMHO it really wont. People buy things with MB and GB written on them
and there is no overriding truth about what those units mean in the real
world. People just know that a MB is fairly small and a GB is better.

Whether you use Megabytes, Megabits, Mebibytes or Margerine is
irrelevant, all of them are imprecise. A 512MB USB stick doesn't have
512 Megabytes, Mebibytes, Megabits, Megatrons, Megadons or anything
else. It just has something around 512MB, less filesystem overheads,
partitioning overheads, etc.
People put data onto it until it's full.

Keeping our units as consistent as possible means that the vaguely
meaningful numbers will mostly mean the same things whenever people see
them. Consistency is good. Simplicity is good.

Chris Jones
  cmsj at tenshu.net

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