Ubuntu Desktop Unit Consistency (LP: #369525)

Christopher Chan christopher.chan at bradbury.edu.hk
Wed Jun 3 23:52:22 UTC 2009

> This discussion has gone on long enough that I'm no longer able to 
> tell what we are discussing.
> Do we have agreement that the correct prefixs for units that are 
> counted in powers of two are kibi, mebi, gibi, tebi, and so on?
> Do we have agreement that the correct prefixs for units that are 
> counted in powers of ten are kilo, mega, giga, tera, and so on?
I am sorry if I contributed to confusion. On this LIST, yes. The IEC 
prefixes for multiples of 1024. The SI prefixes for multiples of 1000.

> There seem to be replies that indicate that this is not the case. I 
> think clarification would be useful one way or the other.
> If everyone is agreed that powers of two are the prefixes with kibi, 
> mebi, and so on, and powers of ten are the metric prefixes, than what 
> is being argued? That we should change which units various values are 
> reported in?

If I have not been clear enough, it is: Not whether to correct things, 
but when and how to correct things.

> Can this be a configuration option? I know that I'm not an average 
> user, but I dont think its too far off to say that users with lots of 
> experience will perhaps prefer having ALL reletive sizes reported in 
> terms of powers of two. I know that its what I personally feel more 
> comfortable. At the same time, I know that other users, many of my 
> friends included, may not prefer that, and would rather have their 
> sizes reported in powers of Ten.
> Having this be a configuration option that can be implimented by the 
> user, will remove the problem of having to decide which to use, as the 
> user now has the choice.

I am not sure that that will solve the problem of going back to the 
original meaning of the SI prefixes when it comes to computers.

> If we don't have agreement on the prefixes, why not? Many many times 
> its been said that they are the standards. Metric is to be used for 
> powers of ten, and the new prefixes are to be used for powers of two. 
> I don't believe that I fully see how there is discussion of that. A 
> standard is a standard. We can choose to ignore it, but I personally 
> believe that doing so is unwise.

That is the problem. Just about everybody has ignored the standards and 
kept convention up till now.

I am currently trying to get some Ubuntu desktops into the school. If I 
add an Ubuntu desktop that uses KB/MB/GB/kilobyte/megabyte/gigabyte 
differently from the rest of the desktops in the school...I am going to 
get flak and will most probably have to install Windows XP and be banned 
from introducing any Linux desktop for quite a while. Teachers have 
enough on their hands without having to explain to kids that XP is wrong 
and Ubuntu is right.

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