Ubuntu Desktop Unit Consistency (LP: #369525)

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Tue Jun 2 16:58:16 UTC 2009

This discussion is devolving into apples vs oranges, so here is a shot
at helping us focus again.

Note the subject line talks about the "Desktop", not the command-line
stuff where POSIX got its start.

The original post on this topic was talking about Gnome and glib:


I doubt that POSIX has anything to say about glib, but perhaps I'm
missing something.  There I think using standard SI units properly is
probably the best approach for desktop users in Gnome.

I think we've already seen that many interesting command line apps
(which POSIX does address) have a --si option which I'm guessing
allows folks to stay POSIX-compliant or get something that meets the
SI standard, so that's cool.

We've also discussed the fix (already fixed in intrepid) for ifconfig.


and I don't know but I somehow doubt that there is a POSIX issue
there, though I guess that some folks might parse the output and get
confused.  But it seems like the right direction to go.

I think it will help in this discussion to be very specific about
which tool or application we're talking about.  I think POSIX is
important, as is clarity and consistency about use of unit prefixes,
as is consistency with upstream and other distros.  And as we've seen,
those can conflict.  So I expect it to be an ongoing conversation as
we look at each package.  If we can use standard SI and/or IEC units
without violating POSIX, I think we should.

There was also a discussion all this last September on the devel list:

 Ubuntu Policy: prefixes for multiples of units

and I recall a discussion at UDS-Jaunty

about it but the link on that page to the schedule is gone


and I don't see any mention of it in the reports.  Scott - can you
shed some more light on that?

In general the best way to have an effect is to comment in the bug
reports, or in the blueprint, both of which help to preserve important

See also the Gnome bug discussions:
storage units standard
g_format_size_for_display() should use correct IEC units

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

More information about the Ubuntu-devel-discuss mailing list