Ubuntu Desktop Unit Consistency (LP: #369525)

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Tue Jun 2 06:40:44 UTC 2009

On Tue, Jun 02, 2009 at 10:59:10AM +0800, Christopher Chan wrote:
> Neal McBurnett wrote:
> > I agree.  More details and discussion are at this ifconfig bug report,
> > which came to the same conclusion:
> >
> >  https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/net-tools/+bug/240073
> >   
> The interface speed in base10 yes. The number of bytes transferred, NO, 
> because that is and has always been base2. You are barking up the wrong 
> tree with regard to ifconfig's report on RX and TX bytes. Your beloved 
> bit_rate page is only for interface speed. So a 100mbit/s interface can 
> be reported as 12.5MB/s interface (100,000,000bits/8 = 12,500,000bytes) 
> which is still base10 but the amount of bytes transferred has to be 
> base2 because that is how blinking file sizes are calculated. The size 
> of a file has always been base2 and so this nonsense of reporting disk 
> space in base10 will only lead to discrepancies between the amount of 
> space available and how many files you are dump on it.
> That stupid IEC standard is at complete odds with the way computers 
> operate. I don't want to have to miscalculate just because tools started 
> following stupidity and gave me numbers that were rounded up or down. 
> Take this MB/Mib nonsense and stuff it. As a system administrator, I am 
> having NONE of it.

Have you read the actual references we've been providing?  Would you
mind providing some of your own if you disagree?  This is not just the
IEC promoting consistent use of the metric system - it is most of the
relevant standards bodies.  The world doesn't care that some system
admins got used to a bad idea when it was in vogue for a short while
in the overall history of the metric system.  Users buy disks that
list decimal multiples on the box, and are pissed when the system
reports it as a smaller number.  There are more users who want the
world to agree on what the prefix "M" means, than sysadmins who want
to redefine the metric system.



 The binary convention is supported by standardization bodies and
 technical organizations such as IEEE, CIPM, NIST, and
 SAE.[4][2][5][58] The new binary prefixes have also been adopted by
 the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)
 as the harmonization document HD 60027-2:2003-03.[59] This document
 will be adopted as a European standard.[60]

As described elsewhere on that page, with pictures of labels and
reference, files have been described with both properly labeled
decimal multiples, and with mislabled binary multiples over time.  The
insanity must stop, and imagining that people will prefer a system
where you transmit at 1 MB/s for one second and end up with .

Saying that having 8 bits in a byte affects these arguments makes no
sense to me.  I bet most users and consumers don't even know how many
bits are in a byte, and would see no reason to change what the
prefixes mean based on it.

Neal McBurnett                 http://neal.mcburnett.org/

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