[Python-Dev] Divorcing str and unicode (no more implicitconversions).

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Tue Oct 25 23:47:42 CEST 2005

On 10/25/05, Josiah Carlson <jcarlson at uci.edu> wrote:
> Identically drawn glyphs are a problem, and pretending that they aren't
> a problem, doesn't make it so.  Right now, all possible name glyphs are
> visually distinct, which would not be the case if any unicode character
> could be used as a name (except for numerals).  Speaking of which, would
> we then be offering support for arabic/indic numeric literals, and/or
> support it in int()/float()?  Ideally I would like to say yes, but I
> could see the confusion if such were allowed.

This problem isn't new. There are plenty of fonts where 1 and l are
hard to distinguish, or l and I for that matter, or O and 0.

Yes, we need better tools to diagnose this.

No, we shouldn't let this stop us from adding such a feature if it is
otherwise a good feature.

I'm not so sure about this for other reasons -- it hampers code
sharing, and as soon as you add right-to-left character sets to the
mix (or top-to-bottom, for that matter), displaying source code is
going to be near impossible for most tools (since the keywords and
standard library module names will still be in the Latin alphabet).
This actually seems a killer even for allowing Unicode in comments,
which I'd otherwise favor. What do Unicode-aware apps generally do
with right-to-left characters?

--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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