johnroth at ameritech.net
Mon May 28 16:07:14 CEST 2001
"Tim Peters" <tim.one at home.com> wrote in message
news:mailman.990993520.25620.python-list at python.org...
> Tabs interpreted as screen distance from the margin can mean that, but
> "round up to a multiple of N columns" tabs are only useful provided
> agrees on a single value for N. I expect tabs in that sense were really
> introduced as a cheap-ass compression gimmick, back in the days when the
> percentage of your disk space devoted to plain text files still fit in the
> dynamic range of a 32-bit float <wink>.
Not quite. Tabs go back to the old hardware typewriter. On one of those
a tabstop was actually a little hardware clip you put on the back of the
carriage track) to stop it when you wanted to do column alignment. The
teletypes picked it up, and then the 8 column convention came in because
operators didn't want to keep changing the tab settings for every
it enabled early tty drivers to save *transmission* time by changing runs of
to tabs. This was important when a fast line was around ten characters per
I thoroughly agree that tabs are archaic, and should be quietly put to rest.
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