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Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 24, 2007 19:08 UTC (Fri) by aleXXX (subscriber, #2742)
Parent article: Kernel Summit 2007 - an advance view

From the email:

- the 80-column rule: is it time to upgrade to 96?

Why 96 ? Is there something special about 96 ?

Alex


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Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 24, 2007 20:07 UTC (Fri) by dwheeler (guest, #1216) [Link]

I suspect it's because 96=80+16. Tab stops are traditionally 4 or 8 chars wide, and in the Linux kernel coding convention are 8 chars. So 96 would let you create text with two more indentation levels before you hit today's limits.

I don't know if that a REAL improvement, though. Too many OTHER things don't work as well when you go beyond 80 chars.

Anyway, that's my guess.

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 26, 2007 11:00 UTC (Sun) by ibukanov (subscriber, #3942) [Link]

> Too many OTHER things don't work as well when you go beyond 80 chars.

For example, with 80 chars per line I can have 2 source windows side by side with a nice readable font on 1280x768 screen of my laptop. That would not work with 96 chars.

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 25, 2007 19:31 UTC (Sat) by jengelh (subscriber, #33263) [Link]

>- the 80-column rule: is it time to upgrade to 96?

Oh no please spare us. Today we have the right end at column 80. People do occassionally go over that. And that's totally ok[1].

Now, if the right end was extended to 96, people would start writing lines with up to 112 chars in length, and the story re-begins. NO THANKS.

[1] http://lkml.org/lkml/2007/6/23/189 second-to-last paragraph "Dammit, [...]"

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 27, 2007 6:09 UTC (Mon) by landley (subscriber, #6789) [Link]

Sigh. I'm sorry I won't be able to participate in that Documentation
discussion. Oh well, let me know what you guys decide to do and I'll see
if any of it's at all useful to what I'm doing...

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 30, 2007 16:52 UTC (Thu) by AJWM (guest, #15888) [Link]

The 80-columns of course is legacy from punch card (Hollerith card) days, which was inherited by most dumb terminals (24 or 25 lines of 80 chars -- which xterm by default duplicates). There was also a brief period where a computer manufacturer (I think IBM, but could be wrong) introduced a 96-column punch card (different shape overall, not just 20% wider).

The relationship could also derive from typing: using skinny (1/4") margins to get 8" lines on an 8.5x11 page (US letter size), a courier typewriter at 10 chars/inch would fit 80 chars to the line (and 6 lines/inch). A "elite" typewriter, at 12 cpi would fit 96 chars on that same line (and 8 lines/inch).

If you really wanted to go to wide lines, there's the 132 columns (characters) that was standard for line printer output back in the day.

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 30, 2007 17:20 UTC (Thu) by jschrod (subscriber, #1646) [Link]

You should note that typography research recommends to use at most 60-70 characters per line for readability. Taking indentation into account (but also not forgetting about comments) that translates to ca. 80-90 characters in source files.

There's more to this limit than punch cards.

Joachim

Kernel Summit 2008 - an advance view

Posted Aug 30, 2007 19:12 UTC (Thu) by AJWM (guest, #15888) [Link]

Oh, I'm not advocating >80 char lines in source code. Heck, I used to program a lot in APL, 20 characters ought to be more than enough for anyone ;-)

80 column terminals

Posted Sep 1, 2007 0:21 UTC (Sat) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

It's definitely from Hollerith cards. People didn't use the early terminals to type memos, so even if there were a custom of typing with 1/4" margins (which I'm pretty sure there never was), it would not have influenced terminal design. What they did with terminals was type out (or type in) datasets that otherwise were stored on Hollerith cards: columns of numbers, source code, etc.

Block sizes on tape and disk were also multiples of 80 bytes for a long, long time for the same reason.

For those who haven't heard the story of why a Hollerith card is 80 columns: It's just what happened to fit on a card of that size with machinery of the day. And the size of the card was determined by the size of US currency, because there were storage boxes and such for that size.


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