On 6/5/2014 4:39 AM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
On Wed, 04 Jun 2014 22:43:05 -0400, Terry Reedy wrote:

Many mail readers treat \t as a null char since it actually has no
standard translation into screen space.

No *single* standard.

I challenge that assertion. There are two standard translations into
screen space: jump to the next multiple of 8 spaces, or 1 space.

You forgot the other tab standards. In the US, the default tab stops are at 1/2 inch intervals, which is 5 or 6 chars for fixed 10 or 12 pitch fonts. Most email is not code from programmers and their bizarre (to a non-programmer) and dis-functional choice (sometimes) of 8 spaces.

Treating \t as a single space would be pathetic but standard. Treating it
as (up to) 8 spaces would be more useful, and standard. Rendering it as a
picture of a banana dancing on the ceiling would be silly and non-
standard. Not rendering it at all is even more stupid and less justified.

<\t> would be better than nothing. Let us see what Thunderbird does *now*. Maybe complaints prompted a change. Or maybe some clients eat tabs upon sending.

    4 spaces
        8 spaces
        tab, which displays as 8 spaces on input
                2 tabs

Regardless of what shows, there is still no configuration option.

Terry Jan Reedy


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