Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1231 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Silly little text file editing question...[Friday, getting OT]
  • From: Per Jessen <per@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:54:30 +0100
  • Message-id: <kgqbum$9v$>
Anton Aylward wrote:

One funny thing is - the standard IBM line length is 80 chars,
which goes all the way back to punchcards. I have not worked with
punchcards myself, but IBM JCL is nothing but "screen" punchcards.

I had to for a very short time.
I hated it and soon found a PDP-11 running RSTS that supported RJE.
That PDP-11 was then knobbled by some post-grads to run UNIX version
5, and I didn't want to let go, so they took me along as test case for
their work on compiler development and I got to play with the new
languages they were dreaming up. And UNIX. Eventually I did system
and kernel hacking on V6 and V7, then on System III and System V

A looong time ago, I had a PDP11-04 in my basement - I still have the
main processor card somewhere. Four 4-bit TTL 74ALU's. Bitslicing.

However, think about how often we limit ourselves to 80 chars - in
email, in code, everywhere. If it wasn't for punchcards, we
wouldn't have a continuation character.

Yes, but there's a lot about UNIX and the 'Net which doesn't
acknowledge line length.


Strictly speaking email doesn’t limit itself to 80 columns.

I know it's mostly a convention now, the RFC says 998 per line.

Even the linux kernel likes the 80 character limit:

"The limit on the length of lines is 80 columns and this is a
strongly preferred limit."


That's about readability of the sources. The kernel itself has no
such requirement.

Well, that's not important - the key thing is that the 80
characters ,just like the old-fashioned 80x25 video format, can be
traced by to ancient IBM punchcards.

Per Jessen, Zürich (2.9°C) - free DNS hosting, made in Switzerland.

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