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Re: Origins of hardwrapping (was: How to disable line-wrapping in KMail?
Re: Origins of hardwrapping (was: How to disable line-wrapping in KMail?)
Thu, 23 Jul 2020 17:31:06 +0300
Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/28.0.50 (gnu/linux)
bill-auger <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Jul 2020 22:38:20 +0300 Dmitry wrote:
>> Since there is actually no any sane reason to hardwrap lines,
> there is a reason, actually - just last week, i watched a talk by Kevlin
> Henney, in which he explained it - the reason why email clients ‹…› have the
> auto-wrapping ‹…›, is because people tend to read better with short lines
Unfortunately, I do not know what talk is was and what exactly K. Henney
explained there, but the above is plain wrong. The origins of hardwrapping in
mail have nothing to do with userʼs comfort.
It becomes pretty obvious, when one recalls that no more modern system gain
such an obnoxious feature, despite human nature hardly changed over the past
decades. What have changed, and dramatically have, is machine capabilities.
As we know, email dates back to the very dawn of desktop computing, when
slurping a whole letter (many thousands of bytes!) into memory was often
unaffordable luxury, it had to be processed screamingly — by small chunks,
which are sensible both to machine and to user. A line was natural choice.
But how much exactly ‘a line’ should be: mail is by definition supposed to be
composed by one person on one machine, but read by another person on another
machine — how can one make choices for the other? Well, there was just no
choice: display sizes happened to be more or less uniform back then, so line
width was universal constant.
> around 60-80 characters maximum
Yep. So, just as I said, if you hate your correspondents, forcing them to read
lines that are wider that they are comfortable with, is a perfect choice.
Bonus point, if your letter will be rendered in lines of alternating width, e.
g.: 50 / 30 / 50 / 30...
> you will find that most news/blog websites follow that rule of thumb
Do they? A few years ago they generally did not try to set max-width. Iʼve
just checked: Wikipedia and LiveJournal still do not. I missed the chance to
collect an amount of personal observations on everyday basis: even if there
would be a limit in authorʼs CSS my userstyle would override it anyway, hence
Either way, itʼs not relevant: they definitely do not mix content with
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