Program works great, except under less, cron or execl (Unicode?)

Sam samslists at
Fri Sep 19 07:34:48 CEST 2008

Diez for the win...  :)

sys.stdout.encoding does indeed have the proper value when called from
the command line of UTF-8.

But when piped into anything or called from anywhere it's None.

Just for completeness, here's my test program:
#!/usr/bin/env python
import sys
print sys.stdout.encoding

And here are the results:
$ ./
$ ./ | cat

Really, really annoying!

So how can I set sys.stdout.encoding so it's UTF-8 when piped through
cat (or anything else).

I tried assigning to it, but no dice.

On Sep 18, 2:12 am, "Diez B. Roggisch" <de... at> wrote:
> Sam wrote:
> > I have a program which works great when run from the command line.
> > But when I run it combined with something else such as:
> > - piping it through less
> > - cron
> > - execl (i.e. calling it from another python program)
> > it gives me a unicode error
> >  File "../", line 261, in set_attributes
> >     print "self.atd['Name'] is: ", self.atd['Name']
> > UnicodeEncodeError: 'ascii' codec can't encode character u'\xeb' in
> > position 7: ordinal not in range(128)
> > I'd post the whole program here, except it involves weird Unicode
> > strings.
> > I could probably change the program to get it working under less/cron/
> > etc.
> > But I'd rather understand exactly what the issue is.  Why does it work
> > fine when run directly from the command line, but not otherwise?
> Most probably because when to running directly inside a terminal, it gets
> it's stdin/stdout as pipes - and python can't attempt to guess the proper
> encoding on that, as it does on a terminal.
> And thus, when you print unicode to the pipe, it can't decide which encoding
> to use.
> To circumvene this, try & wrap stdout into a codecs-module wrapper with a
> proper encoding applied (e.g. utf-8).
> You might make that conditionally based on the sys.stdout.encoding-variable
> being set or not, albeit I'm not 100% sure to what it actually gets set
> when used in a subprocess. But this should give you the idea where to look.
> Diez

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