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SubjectRe: editorial policy
On Thursday 20 December 2001 03:23 pm, Eric S. Raymond wrote:
> Reid Hekman <>:
> > Perhaps if we could be so bold as to back Donald Knuth's KKB,MMB,GGB
> > proposal (of which I learned here:
> > ).
> Hm. Attractive, but it doesn't have an ISO standard behind it.

Two words: "Posix threading."

Somebody had to say it.

How many successful real-world networks have been designed around the OSI 7
layer burrito networking model?

ISO standards do not define reality much on the internet. RFCs define
reality quite often on the internet. Most RFCs come well after the fact, and
an amazing number of RFCs are ignored or quickly replaced. Several of them
ADMIT to being jokes. Are you saying an ISO pronouncement has MORE weight
than an RFC?

ISO got into the computing world largely by rubber-stamping existing
standards from ANSI, CCITT, IEEE, and elsewhere. Not by making good
decisions. The ISO will happily standardize sugar cube sizes and pencil lead
density. They don't HAVE to know anything about the subject in question.

The best standards are the ones that either document practices that already
exist or define a draft interoperability procol hammered out by the parties
who are going to implement it (preferably with sample code which ends up
being worth more than the standards document).

Do you expect Microsoft to start using the term "mebibyte" any time soon? Or
hard drive manufacturers (who largely use decimal megabytes anyway for
marketing reasons)? Or ram manufacturers who obviously want end users to
learn a new term to buy their products? It would be a stupid marketing move.
(Sheesh, AMD's launching a major campaign to get away from "megahertz". And
failing at it, I might add.) How long did it take for end users to stop
referring to the "baud rate" of their modem, which hasn't been technically
true since the 300 baud days. (A "2400 baud" modem was actually 600 baud, 4
symbol if I remember correctly...)

In the short term, this change to the help files (which people look at when
they DON'T know stuff) is GUARANTEED to confuse WAY more people than it even
hopes to help over at least the next two years. Almost everybody who sees it
is going to have to ask "what's a mebibyte" and go look it up. Does this
really make the help file more helpful?

If the term goes into widespread use, THEN switch. If you want to make a
policy about it, we currently use binary measures when we measure memory or
storage in the linux kernel unless otherwise specified. Always have done.

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