python 2.7.12 on Linux behaving differently than on Windows

Chris Angelico rosuav at
Mon Dec 5 14:26:06 EST 2016

On Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 6:08 AM, Michael Torrie <torriem at> wrote:
> Agreed. I do this sort of trick all the time, even when I want to pass
> just a single file to a program.  I often use expansion for paths as well:
> somecommand /path/to/somelongname*withendpart/myepisode*2x03*mp4

"somecommand" is "vlc", isn't it :D

And I agree. I do this too. If you tab complete it, you can't as
easily use the up arrow. Compare:

vlc /video/Music/ASongToSingO/203*
vlc /video/Music/ASongToSingO/203\ Bugs\ Bunny\ at\ the\ Gaiety.ogg

The latter came from "203<tab>". Now, you want to play track 216
"Trial by Ruddy Patience" next. With the first one, it's up, left,
backspace two, patch in the new number, hit enter. With the second,
you have to backspace the whole title, then put in 216, and
tab-complete it again. Now, VLC on Windows is probably capable of
expanding globs, but why should it bother? Bash gives the exact same
result for both of those commands.

Plus, the Windows method depends on the globbing characters being
INVALID in file names. You absolutely cannot create a file called
"What's up, doc?.mkv" on Windows. And I'm not sure what other
characters are valid - are you allowed quotes? If so, how do you quote
the quote character? And what happens with network mounts?

With the Unix model, where the shell does the work, it's the shell's
job to provide an escaping mechanism. The shell doesn't have to be
externally consistent (although it helps a lot), but it can be
perfectly internally consistent. The *system* simply passes everything
along as-is, as an array of arguments.

Windows gives you less freedom than Unix does.


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