Python handles globals badly.

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Fri Sep 11 17:44:17 CEST 2015

On Sat, Sep 12, 2015 at 1:27 AM, Ian Kelly <ian.g.kelly at> wrote:
> The exec still happily runs; it's just using its own private locals namespace.
> Tangent: does the help for exec need to be updated? It currently reads:
>     The globals and locals are dictionaries, defaulting to the current
>     globals and locals.  If only globals is given, locals defaults to it.
> Which would seem to indicate that if called from within a function
> with no globals or locals, the locals from the function would be used.

And that's the thing... I think. It's using locals(), which starts out
as a copy of the function's locals (in this example, empty), but
without assignment affecting anything. Which is more than a little

>>> def f():
...     x = [1]
...     exec("print(x); x[0] = 2; print(x); x = [3]; print(x)")
...     print(x)
>>> f()

It's kinda like how globals can shadow builtins, I think. Maybe.
Except that you can't del the name inside exec to unshadow and go back
to the outer version of it.


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