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Pythonic module for representing and manipulating file sizes with different prefix notations.

Project description


bitmath simplifies many facets of interacting with file sizes in various units. Functionality includes:

  • Converting between SI and NIST prefix units (GiB to kB)
  • Converting between units of the same type (SI to SI, or NIST to NIST)
  • Basic arithmetic operations (subtracting 42KiB from 50GiB)
  • Rich comparison operations (1024 Bytes == 1KiB)
  • bitwise operations (<<, >>, &, |, ^)
  • Sorting
  • Automatic human-readable prefix selection (like in hurry.filesize)

In addition to the conversion and math operations, bitmath provides human readable representations of values which are suitable for use in interactive shells as well as larger scripts and applications. The format produced for these representations is customizable via the functionality included in stdlibs string.format.

In discussion we will refer to the NIST units primarily. I.e., instead of “megabyte” we will refer to “mebibyte”. The former is 10^3 = 1,000,000 bytes, whereas the second is 2^20 = 1,048,576 bytes. When you see file sizes or transfer rates in your web browser, most of the time what you’re really seeing are the base-2 sizes/rates.

Don’t Forget! The source for bitmath is available on GitHub.

OH! And did we mention it has 100+ unittests? Check them out for yourself.


The main documentation has been moved to

Topics include:

  • Classes
    • Initializing
    • Available Classes
    • Class Methods
  • Instances
    • Instance Attributes
    • Instance Methods
    • The Formatting Mini-Language
  • Getting Started
    • Tables of Supported Operations
    • Basic Math
    • Unit Conversion
    • Rich Comparison
    • Sorting
  • Real Life Examples
    • Download Speeds
    • Calculating how many files fit on a device
    • Printing Human-Readable File Sizes in Python
    • Calculating Linux BDP and TCP Window Scaling
  • Contributing to bitmath
  • Appendices
    • Rules for Math
    • On Units
  • Copyright


What good would a README be without examples?


In [1]: from bitmath import *

In [2]: log_size = kB(137.4)

In [3]: log_zipped_size = Byte(987)

In [4]: print "Compression saved %s space" % (log_size - log_zipped_size)
Compression saved 136.413kB space

In [5]: thumb_drive = GiB(12)

In [6]: song_size = MiB(5)

In [7]: songs_per_drive = thumb_drive / song_size

In [8]: print songs_per_drive

Convert Units

In [1]: from bitmath import *

In [2]: dvd_size = GiB(4.7)

In [3]: print "DVD Size in MiB: %s" % dvd_size.to_MiB()
DVD Size in MiB: 4812.8MiB

Select a human-readable unit

In [4]: small_number = kB(100)

In [5]: ugly_number = small_number.to_TiB()

In [6]: print ugly_number

In [7]: print ugly_number.best_prefix()

Rich Comparison

In [8]: cd_size = MiB(700)

In [9]: cd_size > dvd_size
Out[9]: False

In [10]: cd_size < dvd_size
Out[10]: True

In [11]: MiB(1) == KiB(1024)
Out[11]: True

In [12]: MiB(1) <= KiB(1024)
Out[12]: True


In [13]: sizes = [KiB(7337.0), KiB(1441.0), KiB(2126.0), KiB(2178.0),
                  KiB(2326.0), KiB(4003.0), KiB(48.0), KiB(1770.0),
                  KiB(7892.0), KiB(4190.0)]

In [14]: print sorted(sizes)
[KiB(48.0), KiB(1441.0), KiB(1770.0), KiB(2126.0), KiB(2178.0),
KiB(2326.0), KiB(4003.0), KiB(4190.0), KiB(7337.0), KiB(7892.0)]

Custom Formatting

  • Use of the custom formatting system
  • All of the available instance properties


In [8]: longer_format = """Formatting attributes for %s
   ...: This instances prefix unit is {unit}, which is a {system} type unit
   ...: The unit value is {value}
   ...: This value can be truncated to just 1 digit of precision: {value:.1f}
   ...: In binary this looks like: {binary}
   ...: The prefix unit is derived from a base of {base}
   ...: Which is raised to the power {power}
   ...: There are {bytes} bytes in this instance
   ...: The instance is {bits} bits large
   ...: bytes/bits without trailing decimals: {bytes:.0f}/{bits:.0f}""" % str(ugly_number)

In [9]: print ugly_number.format(longer_format)
Formatting attributes for 5.96046447754MiB
This instances prefix unit is MiB, which is a NIST type unit
The unit value is 5.96046447754
This value can be truncated to just 1 digit of precision: 6.0
In binary this looks like: 0b10111110101111000010000000
The prefix unit is derived from a base of 2
Which is raised to the power 20
There are 6250000.0 bytes in this instance
The instance is 50000000.0 bits large
bytes/bits without trailing decimals: 6250000/50000000

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