The Linux Kernel Deprecates The 80 Character Line Coding Style

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 31 May 2020 at 02:34 PM EDT. 80 Comments
The Linux kernel has officially deprecated its coding style that the length of lines of code comply with 80 columns as the "strong preferred limit".

The Linux kernel like many long-standing open-source projects has a coding style guideline that lines of code be 80 columns or less, but now that while still recommended is no longer going to be as enforced.

This stems from Linus Torvalds commenting on Friday that excessive linebreaks are bad and is against ugly wrapped code that is strictly sticking to 80 characters per line. This is part of the broader trend that most are no longer using 80x25 terminals but with today's high resolution displays the terminal sizes are often larger though some preferring the default in order to allow more terminals to be displayed simultaneously on their nice displays.

Merged today into Linux Git is deprecating the 80-column warning. "Yes, staying withing 80 columns is certainly still _preferred_. But it's not the hard limit that the checkpatch warnings imply, and other concerns can most certainly dominate. Increase the default limit to 100 characters. Not because 100 characters is some hard limit either, but that's certainly a "what are you doing" kind of value and less likely to be about the occasional slightly longer lines."

This deprecation involves updating the documentation on the kernel's coding style to be more sensible and updating the script that checks patches to no longer have a max line length of 80. Instead, the check patch script is using a maximum line length of 100.

This change along with a variety of fixes were merged a short time ago, hours ahead of the likely launch of Linux 5.7 unless Linus Torvalds opts for an additional release candidate in its place.
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