python 2.7.12 on Linux behaving differently than on Windows

BartC bc at
Mon Dec 5 11:23:39 EST 2016

On 05/12/2016 15:53, Chris Angelico wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 2:41 AM, BartC <bc at> wrote:
>> Are you saying that if someone executes:
>>   subprocess.Popen(["python","", "*"])
>> the output will be: ['','*']?
>> In that case forget Windows vs. Linux, you now have a program that will get
>> command parameters processed differently depending on whether it was invoked
>> from a shell or not.
> Yes, that is correct. *SHELLS DO STUFF*. If you can't comprehend this,
> you should get to know your shell. Try this:
> python %PATH%
> subprocess.Popen(["python", "", "%PATH%"])
> Would you expect those to do the same? If you do, prepare for Windows
> to surprise you. If you don't, why do you keep expecting other shells
> to do nothing?

You still don't get point. I write a program P, a native executable. It 
takes command line parameters but exactly what it gets depends on 
whether it's started from a 'shell' or from inside another program? I 
don't want to worry about that stuff or exactly how it is invoked!

 > subprocess.Popen(["python", "", "%PATH%"])

Yes, %...% is an escape sequence. Those % signs are supposed to stand 
out and have been chosen not to clash with typical input.

And the end result of the transformation is, here, also a SINGLE thing; 
any parameter following will still be the second parameter, not the 14771th!

Are you saying that the * in ABC*EF also makes the whole thing some 
escape pattern? And one that could massively expand the number of 
parameters, pushing all the following ones out of the way, and making it 
impossible to discover where these expanded parameters end and the 
normal ones recommence.

If someone had thought this up now, it would rapidly be dismissed as 
being unworkable. But because it's been in Unix/Linux/whatever so long, 
no one can see anything wrong with it!


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