Alexander Belopolsky added the comment:
I recall a discussion in which it was argued that "look before you leap"-style
argument checking that we implemented in py3k was a feature and backporting it
to 2.x could potentially break code running on platforms with promiscuous (and
possibly buggy) asctime().
I am +0 on back-porting, but would like someone else to make the call.
nosy: +haypo, lemburg
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