Some information about locale (was Re: [Python-Dev] repr vs. str and locales again)

Guido van Rossum
Mon, 22 May 2000 08:09:44 -0700

> From: (Peter Funk)
> Guido van Rossum:
> [...]
> > The one objection could be that the locale may be obsolescent -- but
> > I've only heard /F vent an opinion about that; personally, I doubt
> > that we will be able to remove the locale any time soon, even if we
> > invent a better way.  
> AFAIK locale and friends conform to POSIX.1.  Calling this obsolescent...
> hmmm... may offend a *LOT* of people.  Try this on comp.os.linux.advocacy ;-)
> Although I understand Barrys and Pings objections against a global state,
> it used to work very well:  On a typical single user Linux system the
> user chooses his locale during the first stages of system setup and
> never has to think about it again.  On multi user systems the locale
> of individual accounts may be customized using several environment
> variables, which can overide the default locale of the system.
> > Plus, I think that "better way" should address
> > this issue anyway.  If the locale eventually disappears, the feature
> > automatically disappears with it, because you *have* to make a
> > locale.setlocale() call before the behavior of repr() changes.
> The last sentence is at least not the whole truth.
> On POSIX systems there are a several environment variables used to
> control the default locale settings for a users session.  For example
> on my SuSE Linux system currently running in the german locale the
> environment variable LC_CTYPE=de_DE is automatically set by a file 
> /etc/profile during login, which causes automatically the C-library 
> function toupper('') to return an '' ---you should see
> a lower case a-umlaut as argument and an upper case umlaut as return
> value--- without having all applications to call 'setlocale' explicitly.
> So this simply works well as intended without having to add calls
> to 'setlocale' to all application program using this C-library functions.

I don;t believe that.  According to the ANSI standard, a C program
*must* call setlocale(LC_..., "") if it wants the environment
variables to be honored; without this call, the locale is always the
"C" locale, which should *not* honor the environment variables.

--Guido van Rossum (home page: