Units reported by ifconfig

Neal McBurnett neal at bcn.boulder.co.us
Wed Jul 16 17:20:32 BST 2008

On Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 04:26:50PM +0100, Steve Langasek wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 10:02:29PM +0200, Jan Claeys wrote:
> > Op maandag 14-07-2008 om 10:53 uur [tijdzone +0100], schreef Scott James
> > Remnant:
> > > Since ifconfig deals with bytes streamed, you can arguably claim it
> > > should be multiples of 1,024 or multiples of 1,000.  Someone just needs
> > > to decide.
> > Traditionally, bandwidth has always been measured in multiples of 10,
> > not multiples of 2.
> But bandwidth is not the same thing as transfer; hence, "someone just needs
> to decide".

IEEE, ISO, IEC, NIST and CENELEC all deprecate the use of SI units for
other than powers of 10, and endorse binary prefixes like GiB.  There
are several more comments on the bug now, including several references
I put in on the use of binary multiples:


Though I agree with Alan Cox (in the Redhat bug at
https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=118006#c4 ) that we should
just be using traditional SI units and dividing by 10^6, and update
the man page at the same time.

Debian, upstream, and Redhat all report in powers of two
and use internationally sanctioned units like MiB.

The divergence with Debian came as a result of this bug report:


At any rate, diverging from Debian et al just by calling "MiB" "MB"
instead seems the worst of all worlds.

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

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