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UNITS(1) OpenBSD Reference Manual UNITS(1)
units - conversion program
units [-f filename] [-q] [-v] from-unit to-unit
Specifies the name of the units data file to load.
-q Suppresses prompting of the user for units and the display of
statistics about the number of units loaded.
-v Prints the version number.
Allows a single unit conversion to be done directly from the com-
mand line. No prompting will occur. The units program will
print out only the result of this single conversion.
The units program converts quantities expression in various scales to
their equivalents in other scales. The units program can only handle
multiplicative scale changes. It cannot convert Celsius to Fahrenheit,
for example. It works interactively by prompting the user for input:
You have: meters
You want: feet
You have: cm^3
You want: gallons
Powers of units can be specified using the `^' character as shown in the
example, or by simple concatenation: `cm3' is equivalent to `cm^3'. Mul-
tiplication of units can be specified by using spaces, a dash or an as-
terisk. Division of units is indicated by the slash (`/'). Note that
multiplication has a higher precedence than division, so `m/s/s' is the
same as `m/s^2' or `m/s s'. If the user enters incompatible unit types,
the units program will print a message indicating that the units are not
conformable and it will display the reduced form for each unit:
You have: ergs/hour
You want: fathoms kg^2 / day
2.7777778e-11 kg m^2 / sec^3
2.1166667e-05 kg^2 m / sec
The conversion information is read from a units data file. The default
file includes definitions for most familiar units, abbreviations and met-
ric prefixes. Some constants of nature included are:
pi ratio of circumference to diameter
c speed of light
e charge on an electron
g acceleration of gravity
force same as g
mole Avogadro's number
water pressure per unit height of water (at 4 C)
mercury pressure per unit height of mercury
ao Bohr radius
AU astronomical unit
`Pound' is a unit of mass. Compound names are run together so
`poundforce' is a unit of force. British units that differ from their US
counterparts are prefixed with `br', and currency is prefixed with its
country name: `belgiumfranc', `britainpound'. When searching for a unit,
if the specified string does not appear exactly as a unit name, then the
units program will try to remove a trailing `s' or a trailing `es' and
check again for a match.
All of these definitions can be read in the standard units file, or you
can supply your own file. A unit is specified on a single line by giving
its name and an equivalence. One should be careful to define new units
in terms of old ones so that a reduction leads to the primitive units
which are marked with `!' characters. The units program will not detect
infinite loops that could be caused by careless unit definitions.
Prefixes are defined in the same way as standard units, but with a trail-
ing dash at the end of the prefix name. Prefixes are applied after the
longest matching unit name is found; for example, ``nmile'' is taken to
be a nautical mile rather than a nanomile.
The effect of including a `/' in a prefix is surprising.
Exponents of units entered by the user can be only one digit. You can
work around this by multiplying several terms.
The user must use | to indicate division of numbers and / to indicate di-
vision of symbols. This distinction should not be necessary.
Prefixes specified without a unit are treated as dimensionless quanti-
ties. This can lead to confusion when some prefixes are also defined as
units (e.g., m). For example, Tera- / Giga- is 1000, but one Tesla (T)
is 10,000 Gauss (G).
Some non-SI units have multiple definitions (e.g, barrel, calorie) and
others have changed over time (e.g., cubit). In particular, monetary
The program contains various arbitrary limits on the length of the units
converted and on the length of the data file.
The program should use a hash table to store units so that it doesn't
take so long to load the units list and check for duplication.
/usr/share/misc/units.lib - the standard units library
Adrian Mariano (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com)
OpenBSD 2.6 July 14, 1993 2
Source: OpenBSD 2.6 man pages. Copyright: Portions are copyrighted by BERKELEY
SOFTWARE DESIGN, INC., The Regents of the University of California, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Free Software Foundation, FreeBSD Inc., and others.
(Corrections, notes, and links courtesy of RocketAware.com)
FreeBSD Sources for units(1)
OpenBSD sources for units(1)
Up to: Symbolic Math - expression evaluation, unit conversion, and calculators
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