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$ echo 2*1024|bc
20480
$ echo 2.0*1024|bc
2048.0
$ echo 2*1024.0|bc
2048.0

What's going on here then?

Update:

dc manages fine

$ echo "2 1024 * p"|dc
2048
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you put the bc sum (2*1024) in single quotes (') does it make a difference? It could well be that the shell is interpreting the * as a wildcard and expanding it in some way.

$ echo '2*1024' | bc

should give you better results.

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Aha! Turns out I had a file called 20*1024 for some reason. – Stephen Paulger Mar 10 '11 at 10:17

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