Who are the "spacists"?

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Sun Mar 19 20:12:58 EDT 2017

On Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 10:55 AM, Steve D'Aprano
<steve+python at pearwood.info> wrote:
> Oh, that's a law of physics is it? "8 columns per tab" is one of the
> fundamental mathematical or physical constants baked into the nature of
> reality, like
> π ≈ 3.14159...
> e ≈ 2.71828...
> Feigenbaum constant δ ≈ 4.66920...
> gravitational constant G ≈ 6.673e-11 N m**2 kg**-2
> fine structure constant α ≈ 7.297351e-3
> etc. And here I was, in my ignorance, thinking that it was a mere
> convention, something that could trivially be made a config option for
> those tools which actually needed it:
>   --tabwidth=4
> But I guess that's just as silly as redefining π as 3 exactly.

Yes. Actually, all of those constants are themselves defined in terms
of the width of a tab; if you change a tab to be seven spaces, e would
become 2.3785. That's just how the world works.

Actually, when I first met tabs, they were defined in centimeters.
Aside from the fact that they really should have been defined in
millimeters, I fully support that broad concept. (And they weren't
defined as "every 2.5 cm" necessarily; the default was for them to
repeat, but if you wanted, you could have them at 2.5, then 5.0, then
6.0, then 9.0, etc, etc, etc.)


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