On 01/13/2013 05:17 PM, John Keeping wrote:
> On Sun, Jan 13, 2013 at 04:26:39AM +0100, Michael Haggerty wrote:
>> On 01/12/2013 08:23 PM, John Keeping wrote:
>>> Although 2to3 will fix most issues in Python 2 code to make it run under
>>> Python 3, it does not handle the new strict separation between byte
>>> strings and unicode strings.  There is one instance in
>>> git_remote_helpers where we are caught by this.
>>> Fix it by explicitly decoding the incoming byte string into a unicode
>>> string.  In this instance, use the locale under which the application is
>>> running.
>>> Signed-off-by: John Keeping <j...@keeping.me.uk>
>>> ---
>>>  git_remote_helpers/git/importer.py | 2 +-
>>>  1 file changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
>>> diff --git a/git_remote_helpers/git/importer.py 
>>> b/git_remote_helpers/git/importer.py
>>> index e28cc8f..6814003 100644
>>> --- a/git_remote_helpers/git/importer.py
>>> +++ b/git_remote_helpers/git/importer.py
>>> @@ -20,7 +20,7 @@ class GitImporter(object):
>>>          """Returns a dictionary with refs.
>>>          """
>>>          args = ["git", "--git-dir=" + gitdir, "for-each-ref", "refs/heads"]
>>> -        lines = check_output(args).strip().split('\n')
>>> +        lines = check_output(args).decode().strip().split('\n')
>>>          refs = {}
>>>          for line in lines:
>>>              value, name = line.split(' ')
>> Won't this change cause an exception if the branch names are not all
>> valid strings in the current locale's encoding?  I don't see how this
>> assumption is justified (e.g., see git-check-ref-format(1) for the rules
>> governing reference names).
> Yes it will.  The problem is that for Python 3 we need to decode the
> byte string into a unicode string, which means we need to know what
> encoding it is.
> I don't think we can just say "git-for-each-ref will print refs in
> UTF-8" since AFAIK git doesn't care what encoding the refs are in - I
> suspect that's determined by the filesystem which in the end probably
> maps to whatever bytes the shell fed git when the ref was created.
> That's why I chose the current locale in this case.  I'm hoping someone
> here will correct me if we can do better, but I don't see any way of
> avoiding choosing some encoding here if we want to support Python 3
> (which I think we will, even if we don't right now).

I'm not just trying to be a nuisance here; I'm struggling myself to
understand how a program that cares about strings-vs-bytes (e.g., a
Python3 script) should coexist with a program that doesn't (e.g., git
[1]).  I think this will become a big issue if my Python version of the
commit email script ever gets integrated and then made compatible with

You claim "for Python 3 we need to decode the byte string into a unicode
string".  I understand that Python 3 strings are Unicode, but why/when
is it necessary to decode data into a Unicode string as opposed to
leaving it as a byte sequence?

In this particular case (from a cursory look over the code) it seems to
me that (1) decoding to Unicode will sometimes fail for data that git
considers valid and (2) there is no obvious reason that the data cannot
be processed as byte sequences.


[1] And it doesn't just seem that "git doesn't care about Unicode
*yet*".  It seems more likely that "git will adamantly refuse to deal
with Unicode".  For example, Linus is quite clearly in favor of treating
data as byte sequences in most situations:

Michael Haggerty
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