Python 3.0 automatic decoding of UTF16

Johannes Bauer dfnsonfsduifb at
Fri Dec 5 15:25:23 CET 2008

Hello group,

I'm having trouble reading a utf-16 encoded file with Python3.0. This is
my (complete) code:


class AddressBook():
	def __init__(self, filename):
		f = open(filename, "r", encoding="utf16")
		while True:
			line = f.readline()
			if line == "": break
			print([line[x] for x in range(len(line))])

a = AddressBook("2008_11_05_Handy_Backup.txt")

This is the file (only 1 kB, if hosting doesn't work please tell me and
I'll see if I can put it someplace else):

What I get: The file reads file the first few lines. Then, in the last
line, I get lots of garbage (looking like uninitialized memory):

['E', 'n', 't', 'r', 'y', '0', '0', 'T', 'e', 'x', 't', ' ', '=', ' ',
'"', 'A', 'D', 'A', 'C', ' ', 'V', 'e', 'r', 'k', 'e', 'h', 'r', 's',
'i', 'n', 'f', 'o', '"', '\u0d00', '\u0a00', '䔀', '渀', '琀', '爀', '礀
', '\u3000', '\u3100', '吀', '礀', '瀀', '攀', '\u2000', '㴀', '\u2000',
'一', '甀', '洀', '戀', '攀', '爀', '䴀', '漀', '戀', '椀', '氀', '攀',
'\u0d00', '\u0a00', '䔀', '渀', '琀', '爀', '礀', '\u3000', '\u3100', '
吀', '攀', '砀', '琀', '\u2000', '㴀', '\u2000', '∀', '⬀', '㐀', '㤀',
'\u3100', '㜀', '㤀', '㈀', '㈀', '㐀', '㤀', '㤀', '∀', '\u0d00',
'\u0a00', '\u0d00', '\u0a00', '嬀', '倀', '栀', '漀', '渀', '攀', '倀',
'䈀', '䬀', '\u3000', '\u3000', '㐀', '崀', '\u0d00', '\u0a00']

Where the line

Entry00Text = "ADAC Verkehrsinfo"\r\n

is actually the only thing the line contains, Python makes the rest up.

The actual file is much longer and contains private numbers, so I
truncated them away. When I let python process the original file, it
dies with another error:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "./", line 12, in <module>
    a = AddressBook("2008_11_05_Handy_Backup.txt")
  File "./", line 7, in __init__
    line = f.readline()
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.0/", line 1807, in readline
    while self._read_chunk():
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.0/", line 1556, in _read_chunk
    self._set_decoded_chars(self._decoder.decode(input_chunk, eof))
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.0/", line 1293, in decode
    output = self.decoder.decode(input, final=final)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.0/", line 300, in decode
    (result, consumed) = self._buffer_decode(data, self.errors, final)
  File "/usr/local/lib/python3.0/encodings/", line 69, in
    return self.decoder(input, self.errors, final)
UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf16' codec can't decode bytes in position 74-75:
illegal encoding

With the place where it dies being exactly the place where it outputs
the weird garbage in the shortened file. I guess it runs over some page
boundary here or something?

Kind regards,

"Meine Gegenklage gegen dich lautet dann auf bewusste Verlogenheit,
verlästerung von Gott, Bibel und mir und bewusster Blasphemie."
         -- Prophet und Visionär Hans Joss aka HJP in de.sci.physik
                         <48d8bf1d$0$7510$5402220f at>

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