In Message-ID: <> (posted to both and ), a discussion thread was started on the long-standing error of using SI unit prefixes, which are defined exclusively as powers of ten, incorrectly applied for powers of two.

After some discussion regarding use of the standard binary prefixes where appropriate, this wiki page was proposed to address the issue in Debian.

Bug report template

Here is a sample bug report for use on packages that incorrectly use power-of-ten prefixes when the quantities are in power-of-two. (As of 2007-06-19, this is a draft to be refined until it is suitable for use in bug reports.)

This package displays or refers to quantities using power-of-two units
(e.g. 1024, 1048576, etc.) but incorrectly applies prefixes that are
defined as power-of-ten units (e.g. the prefix 'k' is 1000, 'M' is
1000000, etc.).
On Debian systems, the 'units(7)' man page (from the 'manpages'
package) explains this issue.
Further explanation can be found at IEC[0], BIPM[1], Wikipedia[2], and
the US National Institute of Science and Technology[3]. Packages in
Debian that correctly apply powers-of-ten and powers-of-two units to
the corresponding quantities include 'linux-image-*' and 'coreutils',
along with many application packages[4].
This bug report asks that the software (programs, documentation,
output data, etc.) in this package be modified such that quantities and
unit prefixes are in agreement as per the standards. This is done by
changing either (or both) the quantity calculations or the unit prefixes
such that they correspond correctly according to the relevant
For example, if a quantity of 8178892 bytes is displayed as "7.8 MB",
this is incorrectly showing a power-of-two quantity with a
power-of-ten unit. This can be resolved either by displaying the
quantity as "7.8 MiB" (power-of-two quantity and unit) or as "8.18 MB"
(power-of-ten quantity and unit). The degree of precision and rounding
follows normal rules; what is addressed here is that the quantity and
unit agree.
Similarly, if the software interprets input in power-of-two units, the
program prompts and documentation should specify the correct unit for
this. E.g. input which will be interpreted in units of 1024 bytes
should be prompted for as "kibibytes" or "KiB", and the documentation
should not refer to some other unit for the input.

Standards-compliant packages in Debian

There are many other programs that correctly use the base-2 and base-10 standard units: