[Python-Dev] Unicode

M.-A. Lemburg mal@lemburg.com
Fri, 26 Apr 2002 10:49:04 +0200

Guido van Rossum wrote:
> > I don't know why it is, but Unicode always seems to unnecessarily
> > heat up any discussion involving it. I would really like to know
> > what is causing this: is it a religious issue, does it have to do
> > with the people involved or is Unicode inherently controversial ?
> The latter definitely playes a role -- when I was going to IETF
> meetings back around 94/95, character set issues were always good for
> a few big fights, and I think the people in Asia are still not all in
> agreement.
> Another issue is that adding Unicode was probably the most invasive
> set of changes ever made to the Python code base.  It has complicated
> many parts of the code, and added at least a proportional share of
> bugs.  (I found 166 source files in CVS containing some variation on
> the string "unicode", and 110 bug reports mentioning "unicode" in the
> SF bug tracker.)

True; and it was hard enough to get it mostly to a working 
> For a feature that few of the developers ever need to use for
> themselves (I believe everyone with CVS commit privileges needs at
> most Latin-1 for their own language :-), I can understand that makes
> it a touchy issue.

Very true indeed. Still, I think Unicode gives a chance of
"fixing" the problem we currently have with strings: Unicode
is unlike strings only usable for text data and that makes
it ideal as standard type for text -- we'll never convince
people to make a difference between text and binary data in
strings, so offering them Unicode as alternative is a good
strategy, IMHO.

Marc-Andre Lemburg
CEO eGenix.com Software GmbH
Company & Consulting:                           http://www.egenix.com/
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