revisiting the "What am I running on?" question

eryk sun eryksun at gmail.com
Wed Feb 20 02:13:01 EST 2019


On 2/19/19, Chris Angelico <rosuav at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> The value "win32" means Windows (or, more technically, "Windows NT
> family", as opposed to Win95/Win98 - but since Win XP, that's the only
> type of Windows there is). If you actually care about whether it's a
> 32-bit or 64-bit OS, you can look at sys.maxsize.

I didn't start using Python until long after I stopped using Windows
9x. Do you recall what sys.platform was for Windows 9x? It was also
the Win32 API, but layered over a 32-bit VMM that extended/replaced
16-bit DOS. There were many differences between it and the NT
implementation of Win32, such as no security or Unicode, and a
completely different console subsystem.

IMO, "win32" was never the right platform name, but we're stuck with
it. The correct platform name is simply "windows". Win32 is also the
legacy API name. Nowadays the preferred name is the Windows API, or
WINAPI for short. Win32 is also the legacy 32-bit ABI name. It's an
okay name, but I'd prefer if we could change it to "win-ia32", which
would parallel the 64-bit ABI name "win-amd64".


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