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Another controversial change for Ubuntu 10.04: File size policy


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#46 Kirkburn

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 12:41

Why change something after so many years? People need to learn computers work on the base2 structure and not base10.

The issue is that the unit terminology is wrong. k, M, etc. are specifically "thousands". It's been used incorrectly in computing.

That's why there is the KiB, MiB terminology for "1,024" systems.


#47 Minchino

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 12:59

Opposing this is silly, why stick with a confusing, archaic system (like the US hanging on to imperial measurements) when a sensible alternative was standardised a decade ago! Whilst you may be able to tell the difference between 1kB and 1KB, this breaks down for megabytes/mebibytes and all units above. It is simply confusing trying to decipher units of measurements and can introduce huge miscalculations.

For usability perhaps Ubuntu should display both, and educate its users if they don't understand, rather than dumb down for them.

Stone is used in the UK, but yeah. They tried to switch us over in the 70s and we told them to go jump off a cliff.

Well officially we use the metric system, all weights in supermarkets etc. are metric.

#48 Syanide

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:00

The only thing about this change that might get a few seconds my of brain activity is that I will no longer feel cheated by the hard drive manufacturers.

#49 Kirkburn

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:06

Stone is used in the UK, but yeah. They tried to switch us over in the 70s and we told them to go jump off a cliff.

No "we" didn't. Schools have taught primarily metric for decades. Our money was switched to decimal (basically metric) in the very decade you speak of.

Stone is just used for convenience, mainly because older people grew up with it and continue to use it.

#50 Kreuger

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:09

Not something that will largely affect me. Frankly I dont care. With harddrives in the TB range and probably larger coming in the next few years, should we really complain over a few bytes (giga, kilo, mega, whatever)?

#51 Minchino

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:13

Not something that will largely affect me. Frankly I dont care. With harddrives in the TB range and probably larger coming in the next few years, should we really complain over a few bytes (giga, kilo, mega, whatever)?

It certainly causes a problem when trying to perform any calculations, especially when you get into the TiB/TB range, the difference is 99,511,627,776 bytes!

Disappointingly even Google gets this one wrong: http://www.google.co.uk/#q=MB+in+kB

#52 GreenMartian

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:18

I doubt if most users will either know or care about this.

I'm sure if you've dealt with people with no computer background (which btw, is what I'd define to be "most users"), you'll know that we are kinda tired being asked the question "Why is my 1TB hard disk only showing 931 jiggabyte? Should I ask for a refund?".

Why change something after so many years? People need to learn computers work on the base2 structure and not base10.

And all you fighting here need to learn philosophy, and realise that this debate won't achieve anything of use :p

#53 Digitalx

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 13:39

Never used 'KiB' ever and never will don't recognise it because a KB is 1024 bytes etc. Base 10 units are an approximation and not a formal unit in themselves - it's purpose is for apples advertising of how many songs, video and picture your ipod can hold. Occasionally sure it can also be used for people guessing sums in their head but that's it.

#54 Kirkburn

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 14:29

Never used 'KiB' ever and never will don't recognise it because a KB is 1024 bytes etc. Base 10 units are an approximation and not a formal unit in themselves - it's purpose is for apples advertising of how many songs, video and picture your ipod can hold. Occasionally sure it can also be used for people guessing sums in their head but that's it.

Huh? That made little to no sense.

You don't recognise KiB, therefore it's wrong? Base 10 units are an approximation? It's used for sums in your head?


The computer world has misused the 1,000 units system for a while - but just because they've done it for some time, doesn't mean it's right. Kilo means 1000, not 1024. This is why "KiB" was created, meaning 1,024 bytes, so that it could have proper terminology without misusing the metric system. (It has bugger all to do with Apple's advertising. WTF?)

Ideally, all systems should sort out their units, and display them correctly. That way users wouldn't get confused and it doesn't necessarily prevent either one being used. Yes, some re-education might be required ... but it's not like people base their life around whether 1 kilobyte is 1024 or 1000 bytes.


Read me: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UnitsPolicy

#55 Digitalx

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 14:48

Huh? That made little to no sense.

You don't recognise KiB, therefore it's wrong? Base 10 units are an approximation? It's used for sums in your head?


The computer world has misused the 1,000 units system for a while - but just because they've done it for some time, doesn't mean it's right. Kilo means 1000, not 1024. This is why "KiB" was created, meaning 1,024 bytes, so that it could have proper terminology without misusing the metric system. (It has bugger all to do with Apple's advertising. WTF?)


Kilo means a thousand, yes. byte is generally considered 8bits so 2³/2*2*2 = 8 = 1B and 2¹⁰ = 1,024 = 1KB. So as it's denoted kilo as the unit prefix 1|xxx with x=byte/bits I never said it was wrong I just don't recognise or use it because the fact is it's an unnecessary term devised for god knows why for something which is as simple as remembering ones tens hundreds thousands in money.

the only differentiation imo necessary is Byte and bit which is simple lower case b = bits B = bytes which is generally accepted.

#56 Growled

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 15:47

I'm thinking we need to move Shuttleworth back into the front office so he'll stop changing things. :D

#57 Kirkburn

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 16:08

Kilo means a thousand, yes. byte is generally considered 8bits so 2³/2*2*2 = 8 = 1B and 2¹⁰ = 1,024 = 1KB. So as it's denoted kilo as the unit prefix 1|xxx with x=byte/bits I never said it was wrong I just don't recognise or use it because the fact is it's an unnecessary term devised for god knows why for something which is as simple as remembering ones tens hundreds thousands in money.

the only differentiation imo necessary is Byte and bit which is simple lower case b = bits B = bytes which is generally accepted.

Regardless of how many bits are in a byte ... 1000 bytes is still 1000 bytes, and thus 8000 bits. Kilo = one thousand. How is 2^10 related to the word "kilo"?

Basically, I still fail to see your point. Kilometer = 1000 metres. Kilogram = 1000 grams. These are absolute standards. Computing is the only one that gets it wrong. I've no idea why you think it's a "unnecessary term". What exactly is unnecessary?

The issue currently is kilo being used for two different things. This change is about fixing that.

#58 Digitalx

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 16:27

Regardless of how many bits are in a byte ... 1000 bytes is still 1000 bytes, and 8000 bits. Kilo = one thousand.

Basically, I still fail to see your point. Kilometer = 1000 metres. Kilogram = 1000 grams. These are absolute standards. Computing is the only one that gets it wrong. I've no idea why you think it's a "unnecessary term". What exactly is unnecessary?

The issue currently is kilo being used for two different things. This change is about fixing that.


Ok i'll make it even more simpler. We all know decimal system and stuff. 1.00 is one dollar because it's in first ones after decimal point. 10.00 is tens because now the 1 is in the tens after the decimal. 100.00 now the 1 is in the hundreds and so on. 103.00 This is One hundred and three as there's 1 hundred and 3 ones in front of the decimal, ok.

Now as you move up in units of base units of 10 you can attach SI prefix's kilo mega giga etc metric units are base 10 so it's common usage with them which is what causes this problem but the point is kilo is 1000 yes as I said a KB is 1024 Bytes [024] which is the Byte section in the name so Kilo-Thousand [indicating thousandth digits] + Byte [2¹⁰] = 1024Bytes = 1KB

#59 Kirkburn

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 17:16

Now as you move up in units of base units of 10 you can attach SI prefix's kilo mega giga etc metric units are base 10 so it's common usage with them which is what causes this problem but the point is kilo is 1000 yes as I said a KB is 1024 Bytes [024] which is the Byte section in the name so Kilo-Thousand [indicating thousandth digits] + Byte [2¹⁰] = 1024Bytes = 1KB

The point is that a kilobyte is bad terminology for 1024. You can't use it as the basis for your reasoning.

A kilo means one thousand; a thousand bytes is 1000 bytes, not 1024. You're seriously twisting maths to make your thinking work.


If I read you correctly, let's say we have base 3 system using foobars. 3^7 is 2187 foobars. That's the closest we get to 1000 in that system using simple power jumps. So I'm going to define 2187 as a kilofoobar. It doesn't make sense.

Base 2 is just lucky that 1024 lands so close to 1000.

2^20 is 1,048,675 (1 MiB). This is 1024x1024 ... it's still not relating to 1000. The problem just gets worse as you get bigger. 1,073,741,824 (1 GiB) is plainly not a billion of anything.


Basically, a kilobyte should be one thousand bytes. We have a the terminology available to deal with the computing world: a kibibyte. It's not hard to use that instead if needed.

#60 roadwarrior

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Posted 26 March 2010 - 18:59

This, like many other issues, will never be resolved to the satisfaction of everyone. Those who oppose the use of "kilo", "mega", etc. to mean anything other than various multiples of 10 will always bitch about it. Those who have used computers for decades before this change will always bitch about it being changed. Kind of like how I personally think the French are annoying to the rest of the world by insisting on calling a byte an "octet", so they have their own abbreviations - Ko, Mo, Go, etc.