Re: Formatting Query

Mark Crispin (MRC@SIMTEL20.ARPA)
Wed 10 Sep 86 06:34:24-MDT

Vint -

     So far as I know Multics is the only operating system in common use
on the Internet which does not use tab stops at every 8th character. My
experience suggests that it is basically hopeless in a true heterogenous
environment to use tab stops at any other position due to the large number
of terminals which do not offer settable tab stops.

     I admit that "8 tabs" are hopelessly hacker oriented and probably
aren't santioned by any standard, but c'est la vie. Many of the Internet
protocols are hopelessly hacker oriented. I'm sure ISO will "improve"
this situation; I have no way of telling if ISO will do anything to improve
it though.

     If you read your mail at A.ISI.EDU (as opposed to having some agent
pick it up and pass it on to your real mailbox), you should know that
A.ISI.EDU is a TOPS-20 system and TOPS-20 uses 8 tabs exclusively. Tenex
had programmable tabs, but this functionality was deleted in TOPS-20.
Therefore, it is correct that any terminal connected to a TOPS-20 system
should use 8 tabs. I think the same is true for Unix and VAX/VMS. If
not I'm sure I'll receive 1000 messages telling me what an idiot I am...

-- Mark --

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