[erlang-questions] Controversial subject of the day: tabs and spaces for indentation

Steve Davis <>
Thu Feb 6 02:29:40 CET 2014

Seems this eternal debate always revolves around the user's choice of text 
file viewers (note: plural).

Maybe a better way to resolve this annoying and persistent question is to 
ask: "what is the correct binary format for a text file?".

If there's a clear answer to that, then we could say that any viewer that 
doesn't deal with that format "prettily" is flouting the spec.



On Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:14:30 PM UTC-6, Vlad Dumitrescu wrote:
> Hi all, 
> It's been almost a full day since the last controversial issue was 
> discussed here and I feel it's time for a new one (well, it's actually 
> old). 
> The default indentation used by the erlang-mode uses a mix of tabs and 
> spaces. Whatever side one is in the "tabs vs spaces" war, mixing them 
> is the common enemy! 
> Not everybody uses emacs, nor should they be forced to. This means 
> that creating a patch might take less time than adjusting the 
> whitespace afterwards, which feels a horrible waste of time and 
> energy. 
> Of course, we the non-emacs-using hackers of the OTP code might be in 
> a crushing minority, and then the issue will get closed quickly. I 
> feel however that I need to try to change this. I have abstained 
> before from submitting small fixes just because of this (instead I 
> sold the idea to someone else, but that doesn't always work). 
> So my question is: are enough people bothered by this issue? If yes, 
> can we try to agree on a solution? Such changes are best done in 
> connection with a release. 
> best regards, 
> Vlad 
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