Linus Torvalds Argues Against 80-Column Line Length Coding Style, As Linux Kernel Deprecates It

“The Linux kernel has officially deprecated its coding style that the length of lines of code comply with 80 columns as the ‘strong preferred limit’,” reports Phoronix:
The Linux kernel like many long-standing open-source projects has a coding style guideline that lines of code be 80 columns or less, but now that while still recommended is no longer going to be enforced. This stems from Linus Torvalds commenting on Friday that excessive linebreaks are bad and he is against ugly wrapped code that is strictly sticking to 80 characters per line. This is part of the broader trend that most are no longer using 80×25 terminals…
This deprecation involves updating the documentation on the kernel’s coding style to be more sensible and updating the script that checks patches to no longer have a max line length of 80. Instead, the check patch script is using a maximum line length of 100.

Torvalds noted Friday that spreading code over multiple lines created problems for single-line utilities like grep, while longer lines “are fundamentally useful…”
[H]onestly, I don’t want to see patches that make the kernel reading experience worse for me and likely for the vast majority of people, based on the argument that some odd people have small terminal windows… If you or Christoph have 80 character lines, you’ll get possibly ugly wrapped output. Tough. That’s _your_ choice. Your hardware limitations shouldn’t be a pain for the rest of us…

So no. I do not care about somebody with a 80×25 terminal window getting line wrapping. For exactly the same reason I find it completely irrelevant if somebody says that their kernel compile takes 10 hours because they are doing kernel development on a Raspberry PI with 4GB of RAM. People with restrictive hardware shouldn’t make it more inconvenient for people who have better resources…

If you choose to use a 80-column terminal, you can live with the line wrapping. It’s just that simple.

“Yes, staying withing 80 columns is certainly still _preferred_,” notes the official commit message for this change. “But it’s not the hard limit that the checkpatch warnings imply, and other concerns can most certainly dominate. Increase the default limit to 100 characters. Not because 100 characters is some hard limit either, but that’s certainly a ‘what are you doing’ kind of value and less likely to be about the occasional slightly longer lines.'”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Linus Torvalds Argues Against 80-Column Line Length Coding Style, As Linux Kernel Deprecates It

Leave a Reply