I'm proposing to accept PEP 278 and let Jack check it in.
There will probably be some small issues with the code (though it passes the test suite on my Linux box), but I expect the only way to tease those out is to check it in first.
Jack did an admirable job of answering all questions about the patch, adding doc patches and unit tests, and so on.
Unless there's significant uproar about this within 48 hours, I'll approve the PEP.
One comment for Jack: I think that the 'newlines' attribute should exist even if universal newlines are not configured; it should always be None in that case.
--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/%7Eguido/)