I've been trying to figure out how to setup Unicode long descriptions in setup.py. I often use Unicode in my README files and then use the contents of the README to set the long description with something like:

_this_dir = os.path.dirname(__file__)
        os.path.join(_this_dir, 'README'), 'r', encoding='utf-8').read(),

This crashed in Python 2.7 with a UnicodeDecodeError when I tried to register the package on PyPI. The problem is that packages are checked before registration to avoid being registered with broken metadata, and Unicode handling was broken in distutils (bug 13114). Unfortunately, there haven't yet been Python releases containing the fixes (applied in October 2011).

How do you work around this issue until get a more recent Python 2.7? Just use Python 3.x, where Unicode handling is much cleaner. You may need hide Python-3-incompatible code inside:

if _sys.version_info < (3,0):

blocks, but you shouldn't be pulling in huge amounts of code for setup.py anyway.