Linus Torvalds pleads against 80 character limit before Linux 5.7 is released


After recently switching from Intel to AMD, Linus Torvalds opposed 80 character lines as a de facto programming standard. As The Register reported, Torvalds shared his thoughts on the subject of line length in a recent article dedicated to cleaning up the Linux kernel where he claimed that limiting lines to 80 characters causes many line breaks.

Others have argued that 80 character lines are a long-standing convention that should stay in place due to the fact that large screens can handle many small windows when column widths are limited.

In his publication, Torvalds explained how excessive line breaks can cause many problems, noting, “Excessive line breaks are BAD. They cause real, everyday problems. They cause problems for things like “grep” both in patterns and in output, since grep (and many other very basic Unix utilities) is basically line-based. So the point is, many of us have long ignored the full “80 column terminal” model, for the same reason that we have many more lines than 25 visible lines at a time.

Torvalds also noted that delimiting lines after 80 characters may be good for those with restrictive hardware, but is ultimately not practical for developers with more resources.

Linux 5.7

In another article, Torvalds provided details on new features and upcoming changes for Linux 5.7. These includea new exFAT pilot from Samsung that will improve the performance of SD cards, a correction of the Intel CVE-2019-14615 graphics bug, and support for Intel Tiger Lake graphics cards. There will also be a driver for Apple’s fast charge technology and better support for ARM devices.

With the release of Linux 5.7, Torvalds hopes to avoid the problems that occurred when the previous version of the Linux kernel shipped with a faulty Wi-Fi driver. Linux 5.7 kernel available now, but it will take some time before it finds its place in the most popular Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Arch Linux and Linux Mint.