[Python-3000] Support for PEP 3131

Steve Howell showell30 at yahoo.com
Fri May 25 04:01:07 CEST 2007

--- Guillaume Proux <gproux+py3000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> The additional burden that ascii loving people would
> like to impose on
> the rest of the world through the usage of command
> line switches is
> unwanted IMHO.

I think now that PEP 3131 has been accepted, you can
coarsely frame the remaining conflict as between ascii
lovers and non-ascii lovers, and the dispute is over
who has to muck with their command line/environment to
get Python to reflect their bias.

Obviously, in any conflict, there are solutions that
mostly satisfy both parties.  

If Python 3.0 leaned too much toward appeasing
non-ascii lovers, you could still devise plenty of
workarounds that made ascii lovers not suffer too
immensely.  Ascii lovers could revisit their security
philosophies, by paying more scrunity to who actually
supplies patches, etc.  Ascii lovers could upgrade
their editors, run more unit tests, etc.  Ascii lovers
could build tools from tokenize.py, etc., that
facilitated the porting of non-English or non-Latin
code to English/lation.

If Python 3.0 leaned too much toward appeasing ascii
lovers, you could still devise plenty of workarounds
that made non-ascii lovers not suffer too immensely. 
You could make error messages more helpful, you could
have regional distros supply useful aliases, you could
have users groups educated newbies, etc.

If Python 3.0 judged the middle ground wrong, you
could adjust in Python 3.1.

Of course, there's a lot of gray area when you put
people on the spectrum.  As an example, take me--I'm
mostly an ascii lover, but I'm sympathetic to
non-ascii concerns.  My first language is English, but
I speak a bit of French, have written applications for
Spanish users, and have collaborated with people who
internationalized my software for languages that I'm
almost completely unfamiliar with (Dutch, Catalan,

Regarding the "command line," this ascii mostly-lover
doesn't necessarily want to impose command line
restrictions on anybody.  I'd much rather impose
"environment" restrictions on ALL Python users.

Here's my reasoning:

  1) It's fair.  Even as an ascii lover and
beneficiary, I have to deal with environment variables
nearly as much as non-ascii lovers (PYTHONPATH,

  2) It's really all about the environment.  There's a
difference between running Python in an enterprisy
environment, an OLPC environment, a
environment, etc.

  3) It's often free.  I suspect most non-ASCII users
already have environment settings that suggest their
willingness to tolerate lack of ASCII purity.  Coudn't
Python sniff those out?

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