[Python-Dev] please consider changing --enable-unicode default to ucs4

"Martin v. Löwis" martin at v.loewis.de
Tue Sep 29 20:36:42 CEST 2009

>> I've also encountered this trap multiple times. Obviously, the problem
>> is not rebuilding Python which is quick, but to figure out the correct
>> configure option to use (--enable-unicode=ucs4). Others have also
>> spent some time scratching their heads over the strange
>> PyUnicodeUCS4_FromUnicode error the misconfiguration results in, as
>> Zooko's links show.
> Isn't this overrated?
> First, if you have a Python version that has the wrong version, just print out
> its sys.maxunicode and choose the right version according to that (if
> sys.maxunicode == 65535, you need to compile an UCS-4 version, otherwise an
> UCS-2 version).

To do so, you have to know that there is such a configuration option in
the first place, and that the error message you get (missing symbols)
has anything to do with it. This is quite puzzling to users.

Once people know what the problem is, fixing it is indeed easy.

> I'm not sure why someone "clueless" (your word :-)) wants to compile his own
> Python, though.

People install a lot of software that they don't understand. In fact,
most people who ever install software don't know how it is written,
and cannot enumerate the meaning of all configuration options that the
software possesses. In Unix, there is a long tradition that "installing
software" means "building from source"; if you have a configure script,
you expect that it either works out of the box, or gives an error
message if it finds that something is wrong with the environment.

So it is quite normal that people who don't understand how the Python
interpreter works (or that it has a Unicode type) install Python.


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