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Re: the overloading of `tab-width'

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: the overloading of `tab-width'
Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2002 17:28:04 -0600 (MDT)

    Now, personally, I find this irritating in the extreme.  If I nest about
    four blocks, with a long function name or two, the lines begin to wrap
    very quickly.  One thing I do like about the GNU Coding style is that it
    says to perform indentation by 2 columns. 

    Unfortunately, believe it or not, Emacs gives me no way to deal with

What does it mean to "deal with this"?

In general, if you don't like the way a file is indented, the only way
you can see it differently is to reindent it.  That means changing the
text.  I don't see that it is particularly useful to try to avoid that
consequence in this one special case.

    I think this problem came about because packages started using
    `tab-width' to convert between actual TAB and space characters. 
    According to its docstring, it is only for display purposes, but CC mode
    and functions like `tabify' use it for other purposes. 

Everything that affects how wide characters are in display also
affects the indentation functions.

I don't think this feature makes sense, and I don't think it should be

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