(I'd still prefer it the other way around, where you have to specify an explicit option to make the default equal to the locale rather than ASCII, but I can see the other side. Sigh.)
Let's put it this way: the interpreter's default encoding has to be changed explicitly by the sys admin (in sitecustomize.py), so the decision to take e.g. a locale specific default encoding is one which the admin maintaining the installation has to make (with all the consequences that go with it).
OK. I missed that part -- I thought that it would look in the locale by default.
Per default, the default encoding is ASCII, so I don't think we really need an extra option.
Hmm, could be that python -S already implies this, BTW...
checking this reveils that even sys.setdefaultencoding() remains available if -S is used. Perhaps we should remove the API with -S too ?!
I don't think so. It should be left in, caveat emptor.
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)