The limit of the length of lines in the Linux kernel to debate ...

Linux Kernel

Periodically, Linux kernel developers debate or meet to discuss certain topics. Usually some NOCs are used to meet face-to-face, but the famous LKMLs are also used to discuss other details like these.

On this occasion a specific topic has been dealt with, and it is the limit of the length of text lines in the Linux kernel. There are people who like the lines a little longer so as not to waste vertical space, and others who prefer shorter lines so that they do not occupy too much width. It is more a matter of taste or almost aesthetic.

Some think that monitors and screen resolutions have gotten so large in recent years that much longer lines should be allowed to be written in kernel code files. In fact, one of the developers named Alastair D'Silva is among those who think so, and he posted a patch that allowed lengths of 64-byte line instead of the current 16 or 32 bytes.

Some as Petr Mladek didn't like this, since he thinks that 64 bytes means having more than 256 characters for each line, and he doubts that any human would find it easy to read such a long line in a simple way, and that also the screen resolution necessary to adjust that type of lines it should be higher than standard HD, and that there were probably still developers with modern displays at those resolutions.

There seems to be little chance that the patch written by Alastair became officially included in the Linux kernel. In addition, we know that Linus Torvalds is very strict about not favoring some developers over others and making sure that developers can work even with humble equipment, old hardware and low-cost. In fact, the length of lines is not something new, it has already been covered in the past. Linus himself spoke about length when discussing going from 80 to 100 characters, and preferred to keep 80 at that time (7 years ago).


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