Re: spelling of disc (disk) in /devfs

Date: Thu Feb 01 2001 - 14:07:55 EST

On Thu, Feb 01, 2001 at 10:27:48AM -0800, wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 31, 2001 at 06:35:30PM -0600, List User wrote:
> > If it's any consolation from (this American) I'm glad it's 'disc' (always
> > thought that 'disk' was just for those marketing dweebs who couldn't spell
> > right
> > in the first place).
> And in terms of casual usage, I've nearly always used 'disk' in
> reference to media that can be mounted read-write, and 'disc' to media
> that can only be mounted read-only.

This seems like a pretty arbitrary distinction, really, but:

> More technically, 'disc' is a single media layer (usually a CD-ROM) and
> 'disk' is a removable media device with a protective casing.

This is closer to making some logical sense, but you have to be careful about
your terms: DVDs, for example, can have up to four media layers on one disc.

As a genuine anglophile, I have a good sympathy for the expressed preferences
toward more british spellings (I have been known from time to time to put "u"s
in words my american comerades did not approve of), however I have always
considered "disk" to be a technical term, much as "byte", with a reasonably
well defined meaning and spelling, outside of any particular variant of the
english language.

In particular, a "disk" is a rotating digital recording medium used by
computers. A "disc" is a flat, round object. CDs and DVDs, therefore, are
disks which also happen to be discs, but one describes their function, and the
other describes their shape. Floppies, on the other hand, are disks, but are
arguably not discs (they're rectangular. They may have discs buried inside
them, but that's not what people generally refer to when they refer to

I think this distinction becomes particularly important when one gets into
non-removable media such as hard drives. These drives are "disks" which
contain several "discs" inside them (several platters). When one refers to a
hard disk, one is referring to the whole assembly, not to just one disc

In any case, all of that having been said, I do think this is a rather trivial
thing to be arguing about, and personally I can live with it either way. The
one thing I would like to point out is that "disk" is the standard industry
convention, and thus if anything I think it should have more weight behind it
solely because of that (it's good to be consistent with what everybody else in
the industry is doing, even if it is something as minor as spelling of terms.)

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