Ubuntu Desktop Unit Consistency (LP: #369525)

Remco remco47 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 3 02:57:16 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 4:03 AM, Christopher Chan
<christopher.chan at bradbury.edu.hk> wrote:
> Benjamin Drung wrote:
>> Am Mittwoch, den 03.06.2009, 08:20 +0800 schrieb Christopher Chan:
>>>> Note the subject line talks about the "Desktop", not the command-line
>>>> stuff where POSIX got its start.
>>> Let's try again. Instead of scp, how about downloading a file from a
>>> website that says the file is X MB but after it has been downloaded,
>>> Nautilus reports Y MB.
>> No, Nautilus should report X MiB.
> Then you still get the 'MB/MiB?' question. How many websites out there
> report file sizes in MiB? How many websites out there report with the
> correct MB standard?

Many sites state file sizes that are erroneous or too imprecise. Most
don't at all. Luckily, Firefox's download manager does usually tell
you the total size, and that's where the conversion can happen.

The fact that one medium (the internet) uses confusing units does not
mean that Ubuntu should do so too. People can understand context. They
know that an American will talk about a 100° temperature which doesn't
boil your skin. The same way, they can know that the internet uses an
MB notation that is incorrect. But in their own private Ubuntu world,
everything is correct and unambiguous.

If nobody dares to change the world, the problem will never be solved.
People will continue to be confused by files that don't add up as
expected, and hard-disks that appear to shrink after unpacking. If
operating systems had switched to base 10 representations 11 years
ago, the problem would not exist anymore by now.

Getting it into Gnome would be a major step in the right direction.


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