Talk:Binary prefix

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Template-table references removed from article, preserved here[edit]

Bit rates
Name Symbol Multiple
bit per second bit/s 1 1
Decimal prefixes (SI)
kilobit per second kbit/s 103 10001
megabit per second Mbit/s 106 10002
gigabit per second Gbit/s 109 10003
terabit per second Tbit/s 1012 10004
Binary prefixes (IEC 80000-13)
kibibit per second Kibit/s 210 10241
mebibit per second Mibit/s 220 10242
gibibit per second Gibit/s 230 10243
tebibit per second Tibit/s 240 10244
Multiples of bits
Value SI
1000 103 kbit kilobit
10002 106 Mbit megabit
10003 109 Gbit gigabit
10004 1012 Tbit terabit
10005 1015 Pbit petabit
10006 1018 Ebit exabit
10007 1021 Zbit zettabit
10008 1024 Ybit yottabit
1024 210 Kibit kibibit Kbit kilobit
10242 220 Mibit mebibit Mbit megabit
10243 230 Gibit gibibit Gbit gigabit
10244 240 Tibit tebibit -
10245 250 Pibit pebibit -
10246 260 Eibit exbibit -
10247 270 Zibit zebibit -
10248 280 Yibit yobibit -

table that was formerly in lede, preserved here[edit]

IEC Binary Prefixes
Prefix Symbol Multiplier
kibi Ki 210 1024
mebi Mi 220 10242
gibi Gi 230 10243
tebi Ti 240 10244
pebi Pi 250 10245
exbi Ei 260 10246
zebi Zi 270 10247
yobi Yi 280 10248

ST-412 is BINARY in size[edit]

Currently, the article says:

"One of the earliest hard disk drives in personal computing history, the Seagate ST-412, was specified as "Formatted: 10.0 Megabytes".[23] More precisely, the drive contains 4 heads or active surfaces (tracks per cylinder), 306 cylinders, and when formatted with a sector size of 256 bytes and 32 sectors/track results in a capacity of 10 027 008 bytes. This drive was one of several types installed into the IBM PC/XT[24] and extensively advertised and reported as a "10 MB" (formatted) hard disk drive"

This is wrong. The sector size in an IBM PC/XT was fixed at 512 bytes, and the drive is specified to have 17 sectors/track. This results in 10653696 bytes, or actually slightly more than even a binary 10MB (which would be 10485760 bytes). From Seagate's datasheet itself: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:12, 17 September 2017 (UTC)

And yet... Jeh (talk) 10:49, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
The only relevance of that page is the screenshot showing 10592256 bytes usable, which is still more than 10485760 (and represents the raw block capacity less MBR, cylinder alignment, boot sector, and filesystem overhead.) (talk) 02:35, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

The system available capacity of a dumb drive like the ST506/412 varies with the controller - the April 1982 Seagate specification uses 256 bytes per sector and 32 sectors per track as the example format to specifify these drives and market them as a 10.0 MB drives (unformatted they are 12.76 MB drives). IBM with the WD controller used 512 bytes per sector but that is not Seagate's specification. So the article is correct. Tom94022 (talk) 00:43, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Using IEC prefixes[edit]

To avoid any confusion, it is better that all Wikipedia editors use IEC binary prefixes (Ki, Mi etc.) for memory devices like RAMs and ROMs. -Polytope4D talk 08:18, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

At present, use of IEC prefixes is deprecated by WP:COMPUNITS. If you feel strongly, the place to make this recommendation is the mosnum talk page. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 09:04, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I concur with Dondervogel2. Please note that I personally completely support the IEC prefixes; I think they're a good solution to a real problem. But... there have been two major disputes on WP over whether or not the IEC binary prefixes should be routinely used in Wikipedia articles. The consensus was (and as far as I can tell, remains) that since the IEC prefixes are not familiar to most readers, and are not used by most of our references, we should not use them except in very limited, specified circumstances. And despite that I like the IEC prefixes, I must agree that these are valid points; we're not here to lead the way in adoption of new standards. The resulting guidelines are inscribed at WP:COMPUNITS. If you want to open this question up to another discussion, that is of course your right. But I don't see that the circumstances have changed much (IEC prefixes are still unfamiliar to most readers and are still not used by most of our references). And in lieu of that any such proposal is not going to receive a warm welcome from those who remember the previous discussions, which got quite heated. Thank you for your consideration, however it goes. Jeh (talk) 10:36, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes. Perhaps I should have written "If (and only if) you feel strongly ...", for you would need a string stomach. The situation boils down to a choice between familiar ambiguous units and unfamiliar unambiguous ones. Some prefer familiar units while others prefer unambiguous ones, and both camps are deeply entrenched. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 13:44, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @Polytope4d and Jeh: Perhaps it is time to reopen the discussion. As I recall the last so-called consensus was declared in spite of a number of editors in oposition. Things have changed and possibly the minds of some of the editors once opposed? Tom94022 (talk) 17:14, 24 September 2017 (UTC)

I agree things have changed since 2008. At that time constructive debate was almost impossible due to the antics of one loud-mouthed editor and his band of sock-puppets. The climate is different now that editor and his socks are gone. Perhaps it's worth a try. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 20:47, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I am unenthusiastic. WP P&G haven't changed, and those are the real determining factors here, not number of proponents. About the only change I notice in the real world is that MacOS switched to SI prefixes used in the SI sense for disc and file sizes and capacities. That is a step in the right direction, but it isn't using the IEC prefixes for e.g. RAM sizes - it doesn't make the IEC prefixes any more known to the public. Personally I think my time on WP is better spent in other ways. Jeh (talk) 22:45, 24 September 2017 (UTC)
I am not proposing the wholesale use of IEC prefixes, as in GiB for RAM, but that the outright prohibition be removed so as to allow the use of unambiguous prefixes where confusion reigns as in FDD capacities. Specfically I would revise the paragraph of WP:COMPUNITS beginning
"The IEC prefixes kibi- (symbol Ki), mebi- (Mi), gibi- (Gi), etc., are generally not to be used except: ..."
and its 16 to allow use where appropriate for clarity rather than preclude use in all but a few rare exceptions. Who knows how difficult this may be given the passage of time and certain editors. Tom94022 (talk) 01:24, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
You are wasting your time. This is one of those situations where the consensus is clear and you just have to accept it. See WP:1AM. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:15, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
You are mistaken. An essential ingredient to reach consensus is civility. In the mosnum discussion on this subject, civility was notable only by its absence Dondervogel 2 (talk) 13:30, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
In this talk page the count is 3 in favor of a review, 1 neutral and 1 against; there have been other editors proposing usage of IEC prefixes - so it is not so clear who is WP:1AM. As best I can recall the "many" of the so-called consensus was perhaps 8. Tom94022 (talk) 16:05, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
If you think you have a consensus, go to Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers and make a proposal. This isn't the right place tp propose changine the existing WP:COMPUNITS guideline. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:00, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

I took a look at the Apple, Dell and HP websites and they all advertise RAM size as GB. The IEC binary prefixes do not seem to have caught on with the general public, which is our audience. Can you give an example of an article where using the binary prefixes would result in a meaningful improvement that could not be better achieved by an explanatory sentence or footnote?--agr (talk) 16:54, 25 September 2017 (UTC)

And since they are Windows oriented they footnote HDD sizes. The Floppy disk article is one such, particularly the the performance and capacity section. I am pretty knowledgeable on the subject but have a hard time with this table whereas unmbiguous units would make it far more understandable even if some users had to lookup Kib. The same thing probably applies in optical and SSD articles. If the useage is consistant as in RAM then there is no ambiguity but even that maybe changing as in Apple. If Windows goes conventional then who knows, but right now IMO the deprecation causes more problems than it solves. Tom94022 (talk) 18:40, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion, the deprecation solves more problems than it causes. But I would also note that my opinion doesn't matter, and neither does the opinion of anyone else posting on this page. This is the wrong place. Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Dates and numbers is the right place. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:02, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
Yes, we all agree this is the wrong place. Any objections to moving this discussion wholesale to mosnum? Dondervogel 2 (talk) 21:22, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
That depends on what "moving" means. Please do not copy/paste anything because that leads to unnecessary confusion with a pointless wall-of-text at the other page. Anyone is welcome to go to the appropriate guideline and start a discussion on changing it. Then they could post here with a link. The discussion would be a waste of time because KB, MB and so on are still common usage. Johnuniq (talk) 22:54, 25 September 2017 (UTC)
I suggest we formulate a proposed change to paragraph of WP:COMPUNITS beginning "The IEC prefixes kibi- (symbol Ki), mebi- (Mi), gibi- (Gi), etc., are generally not to be used except: ..." and its 16 here and then take it there for further discussion. Just calling for a discussion is liable to be less productive. Tom94022 (talk) 00:47, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Formulate it on your talk page. It does not belong here. --Guy Macon (talk) 01:48, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Well, it isn't about improving this article. So even though such discussion would be related to the subject here, Guy is correct. If you (Tom, Dond2, etc.) want to have any hope of changes in your direction you're going to have to make it apparent that you're not even coming close to violating P&G. Jeh (talk) 02:30, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Forgive my ignorance but I have no idea what P&G stands for. From the begionning I have stated this is the wrong venue. The only thing stopping me transferring this discussion to where it belongs is Johnuniq's objection. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 10:13, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
This is the talk page of an article and should be used to discuss improvements to the article. Use the MOS talk page to discuss a proposal to change the MOS. If starting that discussion, it would be a very good idea to not copy/paste anything because that would be pointless and would only generate confusion. Just start a discussion and include a link to here, for example [[Talk:Binary prefix#Using IEC prefixes]]. P&G = WP:PAG = policies and guidelines. I assume the intended guideline was WP:TPG which says what has been mentioned a few times now, namely that this page is not the place to discuss changing the MOS. Johnuniq (talk) 10:25, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Another reason to not do copy/paste (i.e. "move" the discussion) is that it will not show the correct page history at the target page.
There has been no significant discussion here, so there's nothing of substance that really needs to be "moved". Just start the discussion somewhere else. If you want to formulate a proposed change before actually talking about it at the MOS talk page, do that at one of your talk pages. Or maybe there's a Wikiproject that would be willing to host it. Jeh (talk) 10:48, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

Before we start another discussion elsewhere, I would like to point that WP:COMPUNITS already has an exception allowing the IEC prefixes "in articles in which both types of prefix are used with neither clearly primary, or in which converting all quantities to one or the other type would be misleading or lose necessary precision, or declaring the actual meaning of a unit on each use would be impractical." That could include Floppy disk, for example, assuming there is a verifiable mix of units in use there. Any new discussion should include a rationale for a broader exemption, with example articles.--agr (talk) 11:00, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

The case against deprecation is on Thundrbird 2's user page. Dondervogel 2 (talk) 11:05, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Again, I would like to see examples of articles that would be materially improved by employing IEC prefixes yet are not covered by the exemption I just quoted.--agr (talk) 11:33, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Arnold - Groan. There should be no "before we start another discussion elsewhere". Let's have the next comment be "please continue this discussion at .... ". Jeh (talk) 13:40, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
Arnold, I agree with your interpretation of the rules with regard to the FDD article, but it was shouted down in 2008. As far as moving this discussion I see no reason to do so until its clear where to go - perhaps the FDD article? Tom94022 (talk) 16:33, 26 September 2017 (UTC)
That seems to me to be defensible. Go for it. Just leave a pointer here. Jeh (talk) 21:31, 26 September 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have now openned a new discussion at Talk:Floppy_disk#Use_unambiguous_prefixes.3F. FWIW I expect another shout down along the lines that the MOS exception does not apply to that article. Tom94022 (talk) 17:01, 27 September 2017 (UTC)