Re: Using standardized SI prefixes
On Wed, 20 Jun 2007, Ben Finney wrote:
Ivan Jager <email@example.com> writes:
Here's a shell for people who don't remember what the output of their
while echo -n '$ '; read cmd line; do
man $cmd | cat;
eval $cmd "$line" | sed 's/KB/KiB/;s/MB/MiB/;s/GB/GiB/;s/TB/TiB/';
I'm choosing this to quote because it highlights the mistake being made.
The above assumes that this proposal is about *replacing*,
unilaterally, every instance of one text with another. This is
mistaken, because the proposal is about fixing *only* those cases
where the unit does not match the quantity. The programs which output
base-ten unit abbreviations correctly would be *broken* by the above
The problem is that *many* cases are incorrect; we can't say that
*all* of them are. That uncertainty is not amenable to a mindless text
substitution without judgement of each case. The solution can only be
for humans to find those cases where the units presented do not match
the quantities, and to file bugs against those packages asking for the
mistake to be corrected.
The other solution can be for humans to find those few (if any) packages
that say MB when they mean 1,000,000 and fix only those. Then we'd have a
consistent system conforming to the standards most CS people expect.
How many packages can you name that measure bytes in powers of 10? Are
there any? People tell me I am making an argument from ignorance, and that
just because I don't know of any such packages doesn't mean they don't
exist. Because of these packages that may or may not exist, they say we
need to change all the other ones to avoid inconsistiencies with the
packages we can't prove don't exist. Yey.
Well, anyways, I'm a lot less worried now that I realized that these
bug reports get ignored and passed around for years. At the rate things
are going, Debian will probably be too newbie oriented for me well before
you succeed at filling my output with "i"s. :P