Tab characters considered harmful (Was: Emacs has eaten my python tabs!!!)

John Roth johnroth at
Wed Jan 29 21:48:35 CET 2003

"Mark McEahern" <marklists at> wrote in message
news:mailman.1043861157.12712.python-list at
> [Robin Munn]
> > You know, the more I see the debate about spaces and tabs, the more
> > puzzled I become that anyone still wants to use tabs.
> I agree.  I prefer spaces too.  But what those who prefer tabs would
say, I
> think, is that they prefer tabs because if everyone used tabs, we
> have this problem.  ;-)

They might say it, but it wouldn't be true. The primary benefit of
tabs is that they take up less space in the source file. The primary
problem with tabs is that tools treat them inconsistently. The 8 versus
4 space indentation problem is all over the place (many tools assume
a tab every 8 columns, and either you can't change it, or it's simply
another hassle in setting up a pleasant work environment.) Even
worse, there are two frequently used tools that simply ignore tabs,
thus totally obfuscating the indentation: Microsoft's Outlook Express,
and Yahoo Groups.

Suggestons that one not use OE will be rejected for the
arrogance that they are. Suggesting that one not use Yahoo
Groups shows that one is not in contact with the real world.

John Roth

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