Linus Torvalds rails against 80-character-lines as a de facto programming standard

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  • linux

    Linux kernel source tree

    I wonder how he feels about this now: where he very enthusiastically argues for 72 characters to a line in commit messages?

  • libnest2d

    2D irregular bin packaging and nesting library written in modern C++

    I've regularly seen projects absolutely ruin their readability by adhering strictly to a character limit. You see excessive abbreviations, re-definitions of existing objects to create shorter names, line breaks in illogical places, etc.

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    Now is the time to COBOL!

    Oof, I remember being in school and they taught us COBOL for 3 semesters (this was late 1990s...) I had to go look what Github has that's COBOL and this is what I found.

  • unmaintainable-code

    A more maintainable, easier to share version of the infamous

  • Monocypher

    An easy to use, easy to deploy crypto library

    When you're working on a leaf file with few (or no) dependencies, it's easy to keep function names short. Coupled with a 4-column indentation, it's really not that bad. Most of the time you'll get no more than 3 indentations, sometimes 4, for a total of 12-16 columns. That leaves 64-68 columns of actual text, which is not that tiny. Another reason to keep to a strict limit (be it 80 or 120) is when you're measuring your project size by the line of code. Allowing overly long lines would be a bit cheating. Here's an example of a strict 80-column limit. It mostly works for this particular case.


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