TABS in the CPython C source code

Terry Reedy tjreedy at
Sun Feb 7 19:20:25 CET 2010

On 2/7/2010 7:39 AM, Steve Holden wrote:

> Clearly written by someone who has never *used* a mechanical typewriter.
> The original mechanisms had "tab set" and "tab clear" keys, so you had
> variable tabbing according to the needs of the particular document you
> were working on. Look under "T" in
> if you aren't old enough to have used one.

I did start with real typewriters. The 'standard', if anything, was 1/2" 
for paragraph indents. That was 5 chars with normal 10 cpi type, 6 with 
12 cpi 'elite' type. I used both. I always thought the 8 char unix 
indent to be excessive. If a power of 2 was needed, rounding 5 down to 4 
would have been more sensible.

Wordperfect, which I wrote a couple of books with, followed the 
typewriter model in defaulting tab stops to every 1/2 inch, regardless 
of font. Sensible software tab defaults were not pioneered by Microsoft.

Terry Jan Reedy

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