bit-widths, was Re: HP Laserjet ..again....

From: Tom Jennings <>
Date: Wed Sep 22 17:51:09 2004

> Vintage> I always thought that the technical definition of a "byte"
> Vintage> is "8-bits".

On Wed, 2004-09-22 at 13:00, Paul Koning wrote:

> Not in this community! Newfangled usage, yes. If you want a word for
> 8-bit chunk, nothing smaller, nothing larger, say "octet". (That
> makes you sound like a network geek, admittedly -- it's where the term
> originated, I believe.)

Well, in general today (there's that dangerous phrase again...) a byte
is 8 bits, and rarely will you go wrong. I believe that most uses of
'byte' to mean 'smallest multi-bit unit' .NE. 8 are IBMish, 1960-ish,
and obsolete (there's another...) and its adherents were not only killed
in the Wars but their bodies stomped into the mud and gravestones turned
over. But I've been wrong before.

Paul is absolutely correct -- octet is the UNambiguous word for a
grouping of 8 bits. I also believe came from the telecom world, it's
certainly in heavy use there (also most internet RFCs).
Received on Wed Sep 22 2004 - 17:51:09 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:37:31 BST