[Ffmpeg-devel] [PATCH] Print KB for 1024 bytes

Uoti Urpala uoti.urpala
Fri Feb 16 00:58:13 CET 2007

On Thu, 2007-02-15 at 17:49 -0500, The Wanderer wrote:
> Panagiotis Issaris wrote:
> >> ...and "Ki" represents "kibi", ww
> >> ugly abomination,
> > 
> > Why? Because you dislike the sound of it?
> Because it's attempting to say "no, you can't use the terminology which
> has been established as standard, you have to use this instead or people
> will be confused". There's a brief comment in my other post on a
> possible alternative.

No, the Ki prefix does not "attempt to say" such a thing. People who try
to get you to understand why the Ki prefix should be used might say
that, though they probably wouldn't say "has been established as a
standard" either. But whether people say that or not, it's an obvious
logical fallacy to use that as a justification for the claim that the Ki
prefix itself "is an ugly abomination". 

> > Long? How long? AFAIK kilo meaning "1000" has been in use for a
> > _much_ longer time than kilo meaning "1024". And, furthermore, the
> > only scientific field where k has ever had the meaning of 1024 is
> > computer science. So, I consider it _wrong_ usage.
> I never claimed that "kilo" == "1000" had not also been around for a
> long time, or even that it had not been around for a significantly
> longer time. All I claimed (implicitly) was that "kilo" == "1024" had
> been around *long enough* to have become established, such that

It's been around long enough that people working closely with computers
can be expected to at least recognize the usage, but hardly long enough
to justify making the existing units officially ambiguous.

> attempting to force it out is Really Really Bad Form at best.

Attempting to make the existing units which are much more established
ambiguous is much worse form. You also don't see the difference between
good and bad ideas: the ambiguity is bad and fixing it is an improvement
whatever the degree of current standardization. Even universally
accepted customs are worth changing when they cause problems.

> > On the contrary: To give an existing and much used prefix an
> > additional meaning (superset of meanings) was beyong the authority of
> > whatever group that actually did this.
> Ah, but I don't think it was consciously done by any group; I believe it
> was done "in passing< by simply using the term that way because it was
> close enough, and became a de-facto standard usage thereby. Nobody
> arrogated to themselves the authority to redefine the existing term.

It became a "de-facto standard" for some people, but most people have
never accepted a change in the meaning of k, M etc. As the usage spread
it also became obvious that it was a bad idea.

It seems that you view your own personal usage as the standard that
everyone should accept and are unable to adapt to changes. I'm quite
sure you would not consider writing "KiB" such an abomination if you'd
learned that from the start.

> The invention of "kibi" and so forth, by contrast, *was* done by a
> specific group, though I forget offhand which one and I've got little
> enough time before class that I'm not going to look it up. That group
> are thus attempting to claim authority which they do not - and, perhaps,
> which any "they" fundamentally *can* not - have.

Again you're ignoring the distinction between bad and good ideas. Yes,
the ambiguous usage wasn't really designed or actively spread by anyone
(which is natural given that it's not such a good idea). Noting that it
had become widespread enough to cause problems (which can happen even
for bad ideas if there's no obvious alternative) and then designing a
better alternative did take conscious effort from someone. That's not a
reason to oppose it.

More information about the ffmpeg-devel mailing list