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Re: SRFI 56 Binary I/O

This page is part of the web mail archives of SRFI 56 from before July 7th, 2015. The new archives for SRFI 56 contain all messages, not just those from before July 7th, 2015.

On Wed, 16 Jun 2004, Thomas Bushnell, BSG wrote:

>bear <bear@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>> 	read-byte
>>       write-byte
>>       peek-byte
>>       byte-ready?
>This is fine, but don't call them bytes.  Call them "octets" if that's
>what you mean; since "byte" has a different meaning (however remote
>these days) it would be well advised to use a word that means
>specifically what you want, rather than one that only mostly does.

This is true.  A byte is the distance in bits between the addresses
referenced by two consecutive addresses. An octet is 8 bits.  We have
gotten into the habit of calling octets bytes, because we have gotten
used to architectures where it's true.

Hmmm.  We are very close though, to completely losing that definition
of "byte" -- on some of the new RISC machines, the bytes (in the
technical sense) are 16 bits long;  when you add 1 to an address, you
go 16 bits rather than 8.  But the manuals for these CPU's call this
unit two bytes (apparently with a straight face) in "an attempt to
avoid confusion."