Indentation style...

John Roth johnroth at
Mon May 28 16:07:14 CEST 2001

"Tim Peters" < at> wrote in message
news:mailman.990993520.25620.python-list at

> 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 (or
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
transmission. Besides
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
or so.

I thoroughly agree that tabs are archaic, and should be quietly put to rest.

John Roth

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