Ubuntu Desktop Unit Consistency (LP: #369525)

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Wed Jun 10 02:41:48 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 09:01:48AM +0800, Christopher Chan wrote:
> Except that this is not 'improvement'. This is about blowing that 
> erroneous three decade or so operating system convention of using SI 
> prefixes for 1024 multiples of bytes out of the water without adding to 
> the confusion that is leading to this move back to standards. That is 
> absolutely not something Ubuntu specific and therefore not an 
> improvement for the Ubuntu 'movement/OS'.
> Besides, I have already made clear in later posts in this thread that I 
> really do not care what is used so long as it is uniform across all 
> operating systems. If Ubuntu wants to do its thing while other operating 
> systems keep convention, be my guest. You bet that I, for one, will not 
> be installing it anywhere on school campus because the school has more 
> important things to do than preach Ubuntu is right and all other 
> operating systems are wrong which is why you have different numbers for 
> GB on Ubuntu and XP, Solaris and Mac OS X and I will not risk looking 
> like a fool or an Ubuntu/Linux fundamentalist for something the school 
> may or may not care about.

People keep ignoring a part of the original issues pointed out here.
While for some things (e.g. file sizes) there has been a recent
pattern of using the metric units improperly, that is not true when
other things on computers are measured, e.g. bandwidth, and is never
true for any other units (energy, distance, time, etc).

For the prefixes and units to make any sense at all to users, they
need to be consistently used.  We can't expect people to learn that M
means 10^6 for everything except storage on computers.

And anyone who does anything with the numbers (like dividing file
sizes by bandwidth units) to see how long something will take will get
results that are off by larger and larger amounts as we move from
kilobytes to terabytes.

It is certainly an improvement to make these things make sense.
We can argue about how to do it, who to work with, etc, but
this confusion finally needs to be cleaned up.

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

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