[Development] RFC: Defaulting to or enforcing UTF-8 locales on Unix systems

Thiago Macieira thiago.macieira at intel.com
Fri Nov 1 22:49:36 CET 2019

On Friday, 1 November 2019 12:29:19 PDT André Pönitz wrote:
> > > My personal preference is:
> > > a) C.UTF-8
> > > b) override it to force UTF-8 on the same locale
> > > c) yes
> > 
> > I agree with all three choices.
> a) and b) are fine with me, "c) yes" sounds like a potential problem.
> Most of the child process I usually call are not Qt based, rather some
> random unrelated tools, in some cases even quite old random unrelated
> tools.

TBH, all the more reason for propagating the choice. Please remember that on 
any modern Linux or macOS or FreeBSD, they are already running with a UTF-8 
locale. The most common scenario of our setting something is when LC_ALL=C was 
set in the environment, which will cause us to reset it to C.UTF-8.

> > > ones, would not make the same choices. If we do not propagate, we could
> > > end up with a child process (often helpers) that make different choices
> > > as to what command-line arguments or pipes or contents in files mean.
> If we propagate we'll expose the child processes to locales they might not
> expect, in circumstances where the user of the system possibly intentionally
> chose a non-UTF8-locale to make exactly those child processes happy.

True, but that was done at the expense of running Qt in a largely unsupported 
and untested scenario. Setting the locale to C means we can't access any file 
with an 8bit file name; setting to Latin1 would allow that, but produce 
mojibake in GUI.

> Effectively, going for "c) yes" deprives the user of a certain level of
> freedom that is needed, "c) no" is less intrusive.
> "c) no" as default and a simple one-liner opt-in for applications that
> want to engage in "strict parenting" might be an option, too.

How about making the resetting opt-out, instead of opt-in? 

Thiago Macieira - thiago.macieira (AT) intel.com
  Software Architect - Intel System Software Products

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