[TUHS] The Elements Of Style: UNIX As Literature

Greg 'groggy' Lehey grog at lemis.com
Fri Nov 6 16:37:25 AEST 2020

On Friday,  6 November 2020 at  0:04:28 -0500, John Cowan wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 5, 2020 at 8:41 PM Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
>> I click but I mostly live in terminal windows.  Which are all 80
>> columns because that's the right width (I can go on and on about
>> that).
> Aw, c'mon.  You're going to tell us that the number of punch holes
> that IBM could fit on a punch card in 1928 that was exactly the size
> of the dollar bill used in the U.S. from 1862 to 1923 so that it
> could be stored in a mechanical cash register is miraculously the
> Right Thing when it comes to reading monospaced text on a screen?

I think you're jumping to conclusions.  The importance of 80
characters (for small values of 80) is that it's a comfortable text
width for human eyes.  Your message adheres to the rule, presumably
not because you were thinking of punched cards.

Was the US $ bill really that big in those days?

> I think that's asking a bit much of ol' man Coincidence.

Arguably the coincidence was the other way round.

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