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The string encoding is actually the best part of python 3. There's a large number of small feature regressions that really irritate me, like the removal of comparators, and gratuitous changes like the removal of print statements and moving shit around without providing aliases. But the bytes/str distinction is actually really useful for anybody who uses unicode, which is everybody.

If Python 3 had just made that change and no other breaking changes, the transition would have been much faster and the value propositon much clearer.

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