NOV 2
2007
I received a letter in the mail last week concerning a class action lawsuit against Seagate for misrepresenting hard drive size.

This is a classic example of a bad class action law suit. I feel bad for Seagate. They are no different than every other hard drive manufacturer in representing 1 GB as 1000^3 bytes instead of 1024^3 bytes. Using the SI prefix instead of the historical computer system increases the size over what's reported in Windows and other operating systems by about 7 percent. And I think it's the right thing to do.

At one time in computing history, it may have made sense to stick with 1K=1024. Back then, memory and storage were scarce. And people did very low level programming where they needed to know about every last byte. But nowadays, most of that is abstracted away from us. And given the ever increasing role of the metric system in the world, we really need to stop this archaic practice.

I've written previously about how 1 kbps continues to be misrepresented as 1024 bits per second, when it is really 1000 bits per second. Google still hasn't fixed this. Nevertheless, in the networking world, 1K=1000. The IEEE agrees as well.

We also have the new KiB, MiB, etc., units, which provides a solution for people who want to stick with power-of-two based units.

For the rest of us, let's get with the SI system and make 1 KB = 1000 bytes, 1 MB = 1,000,000 bytes, etc.

Getting back to the lawsuit, I find it hard to believe that the lead plaintiff was in any way hurt or negatively impacted by Seagate's representation of GB as 1000^3 instead of 1024^3.

Sadly, after reading the class action lawsuit web site, it seems that Seagate has already settled. I'm sure this makes sense for them as litigation is costly. Nevertheless, I would have liked to have seen them fight the good fight.

The lead plaintiff gets $5,000. The lawyers get $1,792,000. Since I have purchased five or six Seagate hard drives during the period in question, I am eligible to receive about $100 back if I wanted to. But I'm not going to file a claim. It just seems wrong.

tags: seagate lawsuits kbps
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