After an evaluation, GNOME has moved from Bugzilla to GitLab. Learn more about GitLab.
No new issues can be reported in GNOME Bugzilla anymore.
To report an issue in a GNOME project, go to GNOME GitLab.
Do not go to GNOME Gitlab for: Bluefish, Doxygen, GnuCash, GStreamer, java-gnome, LDTP, NetworkManager, Tomboy.
Bug 580232 - Correct use of binary prefixes - IEC 60027-2
Correct use of binary prefixes - IEC 60027-2
Status: RESOLVED DUPLICATE of bug 309850
Product: gnome-devel-docs
Classification: Applications
Component: hig
Other All
: Normal normal
: ---
Assigned To: HIG Maintainers
HIG Maintainers
Depends on:
Reported: 2009-04-25 17:00 UTC by Ondra Pelech
Modified: 2020-12-04 18:19 UTC
See Also:
GNOME target: ---
GNOME version: ---

Description Ondra Pelech 2009-04-25 17:00:02 UTC
The GNOME Human Interface Guidelines should include a direction about binary prefixes.

The current situation is quite messy. MB meaning sometimes 1000^2 and sometimes 2^20 = 1024^2 is very much confusing.
We have to face it, MX doesn't mean 2^20 * X, but 1000^2 * X, and so on...
And file size on computers is measured by the units with base of 2, not 10, not 1000.
Implementing the IEC 60027-2 standard solves the problem. It introduces the Ki, Mi and Gi (and so on...) prefixes, which unambiguously mean 2^10, 2^20, 2^30.
Eventually, GNOME users wont' be confused anymore thus improving their user experience on the GNOME platform.

Q: Even Microsoft uses the wrong K, M and G prefixes. Why should we be different?
A: Saying, that others do it wrong too, is not an argument. And somebody has to be the firts to do it.

Q: It has been messy and confusing right from the beginning and everybody is used to it anyway, so keep it that way.
A: That is very shortsighted. And there are many people out there, who aren't used to it and are very disappointed with it or confused.

Q: When the new KiB, MiB and GiB prefixes will be introduced, won't the regular users be confused even more, or even scared and running away from their computers?
A: Face it, regular user isn't much a accurate reader and ie MB and MiB is visually very similar. So if the user doesn't know what's going on, he won't even notice. And if you know, what are you looking for, than you will know definitely that it's MiB = 1024^2 B = 2^20 B and NOT maybe something different.

Q: Regular users don't care. And I don't care. And anyway, I'm lazy to do anything about it.
A: Well, you really don't have to. GNOME is a volunteer project. But I'm sure that there are some guys, that will be willing to fix this, even for just THANKS. ;)

I've been searching the GNOME Bugzilla and found a few bugs about this stuff. But they were just for specific functions. This bug is dedicated straight to the HIG, so please, don't mark this as a duplicate bug.
Comment 1 Christian Persch 2009-04-25 17:25:52 UTC

*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of 309850 ***
Comment 2 Patryk Zawadzki 2009-04-25 22:36:52 UTC
I don't think it would solve any problems. Until we get a separate prefix or suffix for base-10 version, there is still no way to tell if the application means 10^6 or if it simply ignores the MiB convention.
Comment 3 Ondra Pelech 2009-04-26 00:03:51 UTC
I'm no sure, if I know, what you mean. But definite statement of GNOME what means what would solve the problem.

To the Bug 309850 I wrote:

I suggest, that the size of measurement with base of 2 takes place everywhere
and thus the binary prefixes (KiB, MiB, GiB,...) are needed.

Measurement with the base of 1000 would take place only in some exceptions:

Like identifying mass storage devices, or harddiscs. Vendors are already naming
and manufacturing it that way (250GB = 250 * 1000^3 B) and it gives nicer
numbers because of that, so people can easier identify their USB stick ("16 GB
USB mass storage"; but when it comes to capacity, or space left on that device
it would be in GiB/MiB).

Or bandwidth, if 8 Mbps really means 8 * 1000^2 bits per second.

And maybe some others...

Any suggestions, or some reaction from guys responsible for the HIG?

thanks ;)