Matt LaPlante reported that there's currently 151,809 bytes of trailing white space in the Linux kernel, requiring a 15 megabyte patch to remove it all. Andi Kleen argued that the white space didn't much matter, "you don't actually save anything on disk on most file systems (essentially everything except reiserfs on current Linux) because all files are rounded to block size (normally 4K). Same in page cache. And in tar files bzip2/gzip is very good at compacting them."
Andi went on to add that it's an issue that is slowly solving itself, "many kernel maintainers automatically remove trailing white space on any new lines these days. So as the kernel keeps changing it should eventually all disappear; except on essentially dead code." Pádraig Brady confirmed that things are naturally improving over time, as a similar report in 2001 found 224,654 bytes of trailing whitespace in the Linux kernel.