Tabs -vs- Spaces: Tabs should have won.

Ian Kelly ian.g.kelly at
Sun Jul 17 18:02:21 EDT 2011

On Sun, Jul 17, 2011 at 1:54 PM, rantingrick <rantingrick at> wrote:
> On Jul 17, 1:48 pm, Ian Kelly < at> wrote:
>> Let me get this straight.  You want us to use tabs so that individuals
>> can set their tab width to however many spaces they want, but then you
>> want everybody to set their tab widths to 4 spaces.  You're
>> contradicting yourself here.
> In my mind people are free to use whatever width they like. A tab is a
> tab is a tab. However for judging line widths we must pick one size
> tab (since 8 space tabs will create longer lines than four space tabs.
> This four space mandate is ONLY for determining line width. Let me
> How else could we decide what is truly 80 chars and what is not?

You're so focused on declaring code as compliant or not that you're
missing the whole point of having the line width mandate in the first
place.  It exists so that people using 80-column editors can open up
code without having line-wrapping problems.  You can arbitrarily
declare that line width is to be measured using 4-space tabs, and you
can stamp code as being correctly formatted by that metric all you
want, but it doesn't change the fact that if somebody with 8-space
tabs opens up a file and has to deal with line-wrapping problems, the
system has failed them.

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