optparse escaping control characters

Hrvoje Niksic hniksic at xemacs.org
Tue Aug 19 14:45:33 CEST 2008

wannymahoots at gmail.com writes:

> optparse seems to be escaping control characters that I pass as
> arguments on the command line.  Is this a bug?  Am I missing
> something?  Can this be prevented, or worked around?

It has nothing to do with optparse, it's how Python prints strings:

$ python -c 'import sys; print sys.argv' '\t'
['-c', '\\t']

Note that you're not really passing a control character to Python,
you're passing a two-character string consisting of \ and t.  When
representing the string inside a data structure, Python escapes the \
to avoid confusion with a real control character such as \t.

If you try printing the string itself, you'll see that everything is

$ python -c 'import sys; print sys.argv[1]' '\t'

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