Submitted LOWORBIT, Oct 31 2001 12:00 PM | Last updated Oct 31 2001 12:00 PM
This refers to the value of bits which comprise a number. Binary numbers are made up of 1s and 0s. A typical eight bit binary number looks like this: 1000 0101
Using a little endian system, the leftmost bit represents a high value, while the rightmost bit represents a small value. A 1 in the rightmost position (0000 0001) represents the number 1. A 1 in the leftmost position (1000 0000) represents 128. Using eight bits, any number from 0 to 255 may be represented.
A big endian system orders the bits in the other direction. In this case, a 1 in the rightmost bit (0000 0001) has the value of 128, while a 1 in the leftmost bit (1000 0000) has the value of 1.
Generally, PCs use a little endian system, while Macs use a big endian system.
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