Re: GB vs. MB

Jason Burrell (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 07:53:46 -0600 (CST)

On Thu, 28 Nov 1996, Albert Cahalan wrote:

> > If you want Linux to be "every other OS" then buy win95.
> > LInux is Linux. It is for people who do not want an
> > "ordinary" commercial OS. It is not for morons who want
> > to be told "yOu have a big dick, er disk.", it is for
> > people who want to use their disk foor something other
> > than swapping out win95
> That attitude is not good for Linux because it keeps away
> the newbies. Some newbies become hackers, and even those
> that don't can help by spreading the word and by buying
> Linux on CD-ROM. When newbies support Caldera and Unifix,
> those distributers return bug fixes for the kernel.

We don't need the newbies. We created Linux to make a decent OS. That
means it's stable, capable, a decent programming environment, useful, and
works. That doesn't mean it's so easy to use it does your work for you,
and hides common optins under little hoods marked "advanced options" (e.g.
options to actually make networking *work*). Maybe many of the clueless
eventually become clueful, but that doesn't mean we have to cripple the
operating system and make it completely inane so that they'll come in the
first place.

And the newbies that are so stupid that they avoid an OS because it makes
their disk *look* smaller[1], are very unlikely to be doing anything of
consequence. Those who are worthy will put in the incredibly small
investment to learn what a megabyte actually is.

[1] Which is really wrong in the first place. Chkdsk under DOS reports
disk space in bytes. df under Linux reports it in kilobytes. Both these
are right. So far, as far as I see, the only things that are reporting
disk space in "decimal megabytes" (which I still maintain is blatent false
advertising) are drive manufactuers, and maybe some lame Windows
applications -- though I think even Windows got it right.

> To really see the problem with traditional MB and GB,
> you should convert all these nembers to GB in your head,
> using 2^30 or 10^9 as you prefer:

You mean 2^20.

> 20,000,000,000
> 402,000,000,000
> 123,000,000,000
> 1,000,000,000
> 9,000,000,000
> Traditionalists will need to do 39-bit division in their head,
> while modern people just do a decimal shift right.

This is a really bad argument. I can simply say, "Convert the following to
the 10^9 or 2^20 in your head:"


(Hint: I know, from experience, that the number of bits in those numbers
is: 20, 32, and 31, respectively.)

But really, folks, this is why the the gods created 'bc' and multiple
virtual terminals.

Like it or not, the computer world works in base 2. There is a reason for
that. A bit has only two states: true and false. There are 8 bits in
a byte. There are 16 bits in a word. 32 in a 32 bit value (a long on the
PC architecture). If you can come up with an efficient way to redesign
computers to use bits with ten states, then go to base 10. Otherwise,
stick with base 2.

"The POP3 server service depends on the SMTP server service, which 
failed to start because of the following error:
The operation completed successfully." -Windows NT Server v3.51