Larry Wall's comment on python...

Alex Martelli aleax at
Wed Oct 2 09:46:31 CEST 2002

Courageous wrote:
> Hard practice has shown me that intermixed tabs in files with multiple
> developers on a project using cvs or some other common tool *always*
> ends up with formatting conflicts. As a consequence, I globally replace
> all tabs in all files as I encounter them with runs of 4 spaces, even in
> C++ and other languages.

Experience has taught me exactly the same sad truth it has taught
you, and I used to follow the same procedure too (with 8 spaces, not
4, as you later clarified) -- very simply by programming my .vimrc
to do so... until I found out that's incompatible with a certain
open-source project which won't be named (but its name starts with
'pyt' and ends with 'hon') whose Benevolent Dictator For Life
insists on tab-indenting _for C sources pertaining to the project_.

Having every CVS update re-get all files because I had changed
tabs to spaces was not ideal for me, and forgetting to reinsert
tabs before preparing a patch could be a problem, so I ended up
revising my "universal detabbing" to avoid .c and .h files...:-(.

[Like for Python's "from" statement, occasionally handy but more
often a source of trouble for newbies, I'm starting to think that
like would be nicer if tabs had never been invented...:-)]


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