Python 3.2 has some deadly infection
Marko Rauhamaa <marko at pacujo.net> writes:
> Steven D'Aprano <steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info>:
>> Nevertheless, there are important abstractions that are written on top
>> of the bytes layer, and in the Unix and Linux world, the most
>> important abstraction is *text*. In the Unix world, text formats and
>> text processing is much more common in user-space apps than binary
> That linux text is not the same thing as Python's text. Conceptually,
> Python text is a sequence of 32-bit integers. Linux text is a sequence
> of 8-bit integers.
_Unicode string in Python is a sequence of Unicode codepoints_. It is
correct that 32-bit integer is enough to represent any Unicode
It says *nothing* about how Unicode strings are represented
*internally* in Python. It may vary from version to version, build
options and even may depend on the content of a string at runtime.
In the past, "narrow builds" might break the abstraction in some cases
that is why Linux distributions used wide python builds.
_Unicode codepoint is not a Python concept_. There is Unicode
standard http://unicode.org Though intead of following the
self-referential defenitions web, I find it easier to learn from
examples such as http://codepoints.net/U+0041 (A) or
_There is no such thing as 8-bit text_
If you insert a space after each byte (8-bit) in the input text then you
may get garbage i.e., you can't assume that a character is a byte:
$ echo "Hyva?? y?t?" | perl -pe's/.\K/ /g'
H y v a ? ? ? ? y ? ? t ? ?
In general, you can't assume that a character is a Unicode codepoint:
$ echo "Hyva?? y?t?" | perl -C -pe's/.\K/ /g'
H y v a ? ? y ? t ?
The eXtended grapheme clusters (user-perceived characters) may be useful
in this case:
$ echo "Hyva?? y?t?" | perl -C -pe's/\X\K/ /g'
H y v a? ? y ? t ?
\X pattern is supported by `regex` module in Python i.e., you can't even
iterate over characters (as they are seen by a user) in Python using
only stdlib. \w+ pattern is also broken for Unicode text
http://bugs.python.org/issue1693050 (it is fixed in the `regex` module)
i.e., you can't select a word in Unicode text using only stdlib.
\X along is not enough in some cases e.g., "?ch? may be considered a
grapheme cluster in Slovak, for processes such as collation" 
(sorting order). `PyICU` module might be useful here.
Knowing about Unicode normalization forms (NFC, NFKD, etc)
text segmentation  and Unicode collation algorithm
http://www.unicode.org/reports/tr10/ concepts is also
useful; if you want to work with text.