On the "Recommended System Requirements" page for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it gives the recommended system requirements—it gives one of these as "2 GB system memory".

Ubuntu the OS has switched to SI definitions for the prefixes used, so 1 GB = 109 bytes, not 230 bytes. However, most measurements of RAM use customary definitions, so 1 GB = 230 bytes.

Therefore, when I see the recommended memory on the Ubuntu website being stated as "2 GB", should I assume they're saying 2×109 B or 2×230 B?

  • Would that really matter at all? It's only a difference of roughly 145MB or 7% - also it's only a recommendation anyway, not a fixed minimal requirement. – Byte Commander Apr 29 '16 at 20:17
  • If it didn't matter to me, would I have asked? – SarahofGaia Apr 30 '16 at 0:54
  • If having 145 MB more or less is an issue for you you probably don't have enough memory to run Ubuntu in a satisfying manner. Try one of the more light-weighted flavours of Ubuntu (Xubuntu or Lubuntu) or even a different Linux distribution. – David Foerster Apr 30 '16 at 14:14
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    This is on topic. It's about Ubuntu. We do not only serve as a help desk (thankfully). – Tim Apr 30 '16 at 14:27
  • @Tim: Thank you. I wish people would just answer my question, instead of trying to suggest reasons why it's not needed. – SarahofGaia May 31 '16 at 0:42

RAM is always declared in octal values. There is no RAM that is manufactured to a specification of 1000 bytes == 1 KB. RAM is always marketed as GB, and is always 1024 bytes == 1 KB.

The use of GiB versus GB is primarily for storage, where Hard Drive and other storage device manufacturers have generally always used 1000 bytes == 1 KB, and to make the difference clear in the user interface.

If you believe for some reason that the web site is inaccurate, there is a link at the bottom of every page for Report a bug on this site, where you can report the issue.

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  • Well, the storage manufacturers did that so their numbers can appear bigger than they are. They can do that because disks do not have to come in capacities of powers of 2. – JayEye Apr 29 '16 at 21:35
  • Well my HDD is manufactured to be 2,000,398,934,016 bytes, which is neither 2 x 10^12 or 2^40 (2199023255552) so I'm not sure what your point is - how do we know which Ubuntu is using? – Tim Apr 29 '16 at 22:24
  • The point isn't to answer every specific case. It's a general answer to the question, which is about RAM, not storage. Decimal is used for storage, and octal is always used for RAM. ∎ – dobey Apr 29 '16 at 22:45
  • My point is that Ubuntu the OS uses prefixes accurately and precisely: when it means binary values, it uses binary prefixes; likewise, when it means decimal values, it uses decimal prefixes. So it doesn't matter if RAM is always octal or not; if Ubuntu wants to be consistent, one needs to know whether they're using the right prefixes on the website as well. – SarahofGaia Apr 30 '16 at 0:56
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    @SarahofGaia: That's a good point but you should bring that up with Canonical, the firm that runs ubuntu.com. We can't do anything about it here. – David Foerster Apr 30 '16 at 14:15

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