Multics TABs

J. Spencer Love (JSLove@MIT-MULTICS.ARPA)
Thu, 11 Sep 86 15:20 EDT

Are, as several have noted, every 10 columns.

It is the position of the Multics mailer developers that TAB characters
should never be sent over the network, since there is no "standard"
width. Thus, all outgoing mail is detabbified, at some slight cost in
network throughput.

Mail coming in is also detabbified, which affects only non-Multics mail,
since there are no tabs in mail leaving Multics. This detabbification
*ought* to assume tabs every 8 columns, since this is the de-facto
standard. That it doesn't is a bug (to be fair, if the mailer developer
had agreed with me, this problem would never have arisen).

None of this helps FTP users, since FTP does no TAB transformations.
There is, however, a Multics command, "canonicalize", which can insert
and remove TAB characters assuming any TAB width, which helps out in
some situations.

There are other TAB widths in use. I think that Magic 6 uses (used?) a
width of 5. The width of 8 is pretty consistent across DEC equipment,
but there are other manufacturers out there. There didn't seem to be
any consistent use of TABs at all in IBM program products, last I

Anyone out there using non-DEC and non-Honeywell gear?

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 09 2000 - 14:36:35 GMT