Mark Sapiro writes:
Because its a workaround for a Debian (or some distro) Python packaging issue which should be fixed by the packager, and because I only thought of the above fix yesterday when generating the above reply.
Also, it seems quite rare.
I wonder if this is something that is related to Unicode and locales; only happens if your server has certain locales (LC_CTYPE). It does seem like a distro bug to me, too, though.