Linux kernel deprecates 80 character line encoding style

The Linux kernel has officially deprecated its coding style that the length of lines of code conforms to 80 columns as a “strongly preferred limit”.

The Linux kernel, like many long-standing open source projects, has an encoding style directive that lines of code should be 80 columns or less, but now, while still recommended, it won’t be so applied.

This is from Linus Torvalds comment Friday that excessive line breaks are bad and run counter to ugly wrapped code that sticks strictly to 80 characters per line. This is part of the larger trend that most no longer use 80×25 terminals, but with today’s high-resolution displays, terminal sizes are often larger, although some prefer the default so to allow more terminals to be displayed simultaneously on their beautiful screens.

Merged today in Linux Git frowns on the 80 column warning. “Yes, staying in the 80 columns is definitely always _proved_. But that’s not the hard limit that checkpatch warnings imply, and other concerns can most certainly dominate. Increase the default limit to 100 characters. Not because 100 characters is a hard limit either, but it’s definitely a “what do you” type of value and less likely to be for the occasional, slightly longer line.

This deprecation involves updating the kernel coding style documentation to be more sensitive and updating the checkpatch.pl script that verifies that patches no longer have a maximum line length of 80. Instead, the patch checking script uses a maximum line length of 100.

This change and a variety of fixes were merged together a short time ago, hours before the likely release of Linux 5.7, unless Linus Torvalds opts for an additional release candidate instead.


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