Numeric Prefix

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Prefixes are used to express extreme numbers. For Linux purposes, they most frequently express large numbers for storage (megabyte or mibibyte) and small numbers for time (microsecond). In all cases each prefix identifies a numeric multiplier which is to be applied to the specified value to produce the indicated value. See the External Links section below for complete lists and the corresponding values.


Decimal prefixes (centi-, mega-, micro-, and so on) express multipliers that are a power of 10. SI prefixes express multipliers that are a power of 1000, and accordingly are also decimal prefixes. Binary prefixes (mibi-, gibi-, and so on) express powers of 1024, usually positive. These are slowly gaining acceptance as of this writing (late 2011).


These are some of the most common prefixes seen around Linux

SI Units (decimal)

  • kilo-: 1,000
  • mega-: 1,000,000
  • giga-: 1,000,000,000
  • tera-: 1,000,000,000,000
  • micro-: 1/1000000
  • nano--: 1/1000000000

Binary Prefixes

  • mebi-: 1024
  • gibi-: 1048576
  • tebi-: 1073741824


External Links

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