Github user srowen commented on a diff in the pull request:
    --- Diff: 
sql/core/src/main/scala/org/apache/spark/sql/internal/SQLConf.scala ---
    @@ -741,7 +741,7 @@ private[sql] class SQLConf extends Serializable with 
CatalystConf with Logging {
       def variableSubstituteDepth: Int = getConf(VARIABLE_SUBSTITUTE_DEPTH)
    -  def warehousePath: String = new Path(getConf(WAREHOUSE_PATH)).toString
    +  def warehousePath: String = 
    --- End diff --
    You are right, the difference was that the _default_ before was always a 
local path. Right now ends up defaulting to an HDFS path (when using with HDFS 
for example). But explicitly setting "/foo/bar" has been interpreted as a HDFS 
path in the past and that would change. Hm, OK I see your point about only 
applying this to the default value.
    Looking at `hive.metastore.warehouse.dir`, that seems to accept a path 
without scheme and that's supposed to be read as an HDFS path, I suppose.
    The catch remains Windows paths. It should always be possible to write 
these as URIs, but, then becomes mandatory to write them as a URI, if I make 
this new change. That's a downside. That's only if you need to specify a local, 
non-default path on Windows, which might be a fairly corner case.
    I can make the change to have it available for consideration here which I 
assume @vanzin  would favor, and I can see the logic of. How about @avulanov ? 
I know this has dragged on but I want to get it right. It's complex.

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