[Python-Dev] Default Locale, was; Re: strftime/strptime locale funnies...

Donovan Baarda abo at minkirri.apana.org.au
Thu Apr 6 16:33:06 CEST 2006

On Wed, 2006-04-05 at 12:13 -0700, Brett Cannon wrote:
> On 4/5/06, Donovan Baarda <abo at minkirri.apana.org.au> wrote:
> > G'day,
> >
> > Just noticed on Debian (testing), Ubuntu (warty?), and RedHat (old)
> > based systems Python's time.strptime() seems to ignore the environment's
> > Locale and just uses "C".
> Beats me.  This could be a locale thing.  If I remember correctly
> Python assumes the C locale on some things.  I suspect the reason for
> this is in the locale module or libc.  But you can't even find the
> word 'locale' or 'Locale' in timemodule.c nor do I know of any calls
> that mess with the locale, so I doubt 'time' is at fault for this.

OK, I've found and confirmed what it is with a quick C program. The
default Locale for lib C is 'C'. It is up the program to set its locale
to match the environment using;


The Python locale module documents this, and recommends putting;

import locale
locale.setlocale(locale.LC_ALL, '')

At the top of programs to make them use your locale as specified in your

Note that locale.resetlocale() is documented as "resets the locale to
the default settings", where the default is determined by
locale.getdefaultlocale(), which uses the environment.

So the "default" is determined from your environment, but "C" is used by
default... nice and confusing :-)

Should Python do setlocale(LC_ALL,"") on startup so that the "default"
locale is used by default?

Donovan Baarda <abo at minkirri.apana.org.au>

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