MirBSD manpage: units(1)

UNITS(1)                     BSD Reference Manual                     UNITS(1)


     units - conversion program


     units [-f filename] [-q] [-v] from-unit to-unit


     The units program converts quantities expressed in various scales to
     their equivalents in other scales. The units program can only handle mul-
     tiplicative scale changes. It cannot convert Celsius to Fahrenheit, for
     example. It also does not handle logarithmic units such as bels. It works
     interactively by prompting the user for input:

           You have: meters
           You want: feet
                   * 3.2808399
                   / 0.3048

           You have: cm^3
           You want: gallons
                   * 0.00026417205
                   / 3785.4118

     The units program can handle numbers as well:

           You have: 60 miles/hr
           You want: km/hr
                   * 96.56064
                   / 0.010356187

           You have: 5 austriaschilling
           You want: 100 italylira
                   * 7.0357114
                   / 0.14213204

     In other words, 60 miles per hour is about 96.6 km/hr, and 5 Austrian
     Schillings will get you seven 100-Lira coins.

     The options are as follows:

     -f filename
             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.

     from-unit to-unit
             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.

     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 mul-
     tiplication 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 con-
     formable and it will display the reduced form for each unit:

           You have: ergs/hour
           You want: fathoms kg^2 / day
           conformability error
                   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
     metric 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 infin-
     ite 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.


     /usr/share/misc/units.lib  the standard units library


     Adrian Mariano (adrian@cam.cornell.edu or mariano@geom.umn.edu)


     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
     division 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
     values fluctuate.

     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.

MirBSD #10-current              July 14, 1993                                2

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