[I18n-sig] Japanese commentary on the Pre-PEP (2 of 4)

Paul Prescod paulp@ActiveState.com
Tue, 20 Feb 2001 15:20:35 -0800

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> > Again, I doubt that theoretical discussion of the issue does not bring
> > it much further. What is needed is an actual patch to Python so people
> > can see what exactly you are proposing, and in what way it would
> > affect their code.
> Yes!

The pre-PEP proposed roughly several month's work in terms of new types,
extended functions, encoding changes and so forth to be implemented over
several years. But if we don't agree on the direction of movement
straight then we aren't going to move anywhere ever!

The central proposal is that "Python strings" could allow characters
with ordinal values higher than 255. I absolutely cannot see how this
could break Python code. It is a loosening of a restriction!

The trick (which may or may not be possible) is working with extension
modules which have assumptions about the underlying bit-representation
of strings. The only way out from under that weight is to start
distinguishing between logical character strings and physical byte
strings now, so that we do not have this same "legacy extension code"
issue five years from now.

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