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# Big endian vs little endian

## Big endian vs little endian

Posted Mar 23, 2007 22:09 UTC (Fri) by BugLess (guest, #43869)
In reply to: Big endian vs little endian by giraffedata
Parent article: How an Accident of Hardware Design Encouraged Open Source (O'ReillyNet)

"I don't see any inconsistency. A telephone number isn't a number; it's just a digit sequence. There's only one sane way to write a telephone number: in the order in which you dial it."

How does that make -any- sense? If you're reading right-to-left, you'd read the numbers right-to-left and dial right-to-left.

Big endian vs little endian

Posted Mar 24, 2007 0:22 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

"I don't see any inconsistency. A telephone number isn't a number; it's just a digit sequence. There's only one sane way to write a telephone number: in the order in which you dial it."
How does that make -any- sense? If you're reading right-to-left, you'd read the numbers right-to-left and dial right-to-left.

I failed to notice that the quote to which I was responding is contradictory. My statement makes sense if you believe the first half of it ("telephone numbers are an exception to writing numbers little-endian"), but nonsense if you believe the second half ("telephone numbers are left to right).

I confirmed at http://www2.ignatius.edu/faculty/turner/arabic/anumbers.htm that numbers in Arabic are written little-endian (least significant digit on the right).

Now the only question is what direction are telephone numbers written? Common sense tells me the "left to right" from the original is a typo and is supposed to say "right to left." That way, it is big-endian, which is inconsistent with the way numbers are written, but is in the order of dialing. Which would make my objection correct: there's no real inconsistency because telephone numbers aren't numbers.

(While telephone numbers aren't numbers, I consider the digits to have significance in the same way numbers do; the digits that select among the largest geographical area in the original geographical numbering system are the more significant).