[TUHS] tabs vs spaces - entab, detab

John Gilmore gnu at toad.com
Fri Mar 5 19:58:14 AEST 2021

Will Senn <will.senn at gmail.com> wrote:
>                         the notorious "inconsistent use of tabs and 
> spaces in indentation" error. Python drives me nuts with it's 
> finickiness on this...

The one that got me was make(1).  Being used to text editors that used
"tab" as a command rather than a literal character, I proposed a fix
early on at Sun that would allow leading spaces as well as tabs in
Makefiles.  (I think this was in the Unisoft Unix days, pre-BSD.)  Bill
Shannon actually put it into their source tree.  But in a few days or
weeks, he took it back out, because he realized that Makefiles built on
Suns using leading spaces wouldn't work anywhere else.

Compatibility with the rest of the UNIX(tm) world was more important
than eliminating the software's foolish distinction between two
characters you can't see.


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