[RFC] SI Units in KDE

Martijn Klingens klingens at kde.org
Fri Sep 20 14:17:06 BST 2002

On Friday 20 September 2002 08:40, Rik Hemsley wrote:
> I'm 6'1" tall and I live 5 miles from the nearest major city. Ok,
> so UK isn't quite into metric either, yet.... but this isn't a
> metric/imperial issue, it's to do with powers of 10 versus powers
> of 2.

As long as the computer does the math, sure. As soon as you have to count up 
some sizes yourself or do any other kind of math with them you're glad to 
have a decimal system. And more often than not I'm adding up sizes of files 
or directories to see how much space they take, or whether they'd fit on a 
disk or not. If you see that a file is 53432487 bytes, how much Mb is that? 
53.4 in the decimal system, which works extremely well. Easy to add up, easy 
to use. And everyone learns this way of calculating figures at age 8 or so on 
primary school.

The binary system OTOH is only known to a small group of IT specialists. 
Traditionally memory was measured mostly in bytes and sometimes kilobytes, so 
it wasn't much of a problem (the rounding error was relatively the same, but 
absolutely smaller), but with mega, giga and even tera becoming very common 
the differences are becoming huge. Also, people using computers are rarely 
the experts and mostly the people who grew up with decimal math.

So what is an argument in FAVOUR of the old system? I see exactly none, unless 
you consider conservatively sticking to outdated traditions an 'in-favour' 

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