[RFC] SI Units in KDE

Martijn Klingens klingens at kde.org
Thu Sep 19 21:32:39 BST 2002

On Thursday 19 September 2002 18:43, Ryan Cumming wrote:
> KDE currently makes the (common) mistake of using SI units such as
> "megabyte" incorrectly. For instance, a megabyte is defined as 1,000,000
> bytes, not 1,048,576. In 1998, the IEEE created a set of binary prefixes to
> describe these "almost SI" units. A description of these prefixes can be
> found at: http://physics.nist.gov/cuu/Units/binary.html
> However, the terms "MiB" and mibibyte aren't very common to most users.
> There would definitely be some initial confusion if KDE introduced correct
> usage of these prefixes. On the other hand, these units are starting the
> seep in to general usage (check ifconfig's output on any modern Linux
> installation, for instance).

I was thinking about exactly the same thing earlier this week, and for 
everything relating to files I'm all for using decimal rather than binary 
counting. Hard disk manufacturers already ships disks in SI units rather than 
binary units for quite some time (although commercial motives probably 
outweighed the desire to be correct here :-)

For RAM memory otoh there's a physical limitation (at least on i386) that 
memory modules have a size that can be expressed in binary values.

In short: generalizing to SI units sounds good, but standardizing on only 
decimal or only binary sounds wrong. Rather use decimal notation for files 
and binary for memory.

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