[conspire] GiB/TiB vs. GB/TB - SI vs. binary, etc.
rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 4 20:52:34 PDT 2010
Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu):
> Opinions may and will differ :-) ... but my opinion/perspective is that
> when referring to binary units, use the binary terms/abbreviations, e.g.
> KiB, MiB, GiB, TiB, etc.
It's been over ten years since 1999 when the International
Electrotechnical Commission invented and tried to popularise those
coinages, with a pretty much total lack of success, which is not
surprising as they are an epic failure as coinages and obvious
> May take some getting used to (and things like TebiByte still don't
> roll off the tip of my tongue)....
Hah hah. You keep telling yourself that.
> ...but I think in general it's better and avoids ambiguity.
We _had_ a lack of ambiguity, Michael -- ever since Gene Amadahl's 1964
article on IBM System/360 used 1K to mean 1024, establishing the
convention that "kilo", etc., referred _within computing_ to obvious
power-of-two qualities. That convention worked great, and was utterly
devoid of ambiguity until some idiot in the hard drive industry
corrupted the memespace.
> Such ambiguity can be especially significant as one gets into larger
Ah, you must be one of those computing people who refuse to understand
that words have meaning only in context. Yes, we have a lot of those.
> I also note that many programs/utilities, including and perhaps
> especially in Open Source, are tending towards using and explicitly
> stating binary units.
I'm curious: Why do you capitalise "open source" in a context where it
isn't a proper noun?
> Thanks also, for pointing out the UK vs. American English billion,
> trillion, etc. (at least historic) differences - I wasn't aware of
Well, you presumably weren't raised in the British school system in the
> Yielding or adjusting to plurality opinion/usage isn't always "best",
> but it's often the more practical option.
I think it's perfectly charming that you seem to think users of
USA-style English word choice and (presumably) spelling outnumber those
who speak the several closely related Commonwealth variants. Ambrose
Bierce once said that 'War is God's way of teaching Americans
geography.' I _had_ thought that we'd recently had enough war to put a
few rays of sunlight through the miasma of ignorance about the world,
but perhaps I've been guilty of optimism.
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