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The original intent for the “accessor” thing was to have a variant that did all accesses under a filesystem tree in a race condition-free way using openat and friends. It turned out to be much too hairy to actually implement, so was entirely abandoned, but the accessor abstraction was left there.
This change is actually causing a problem for me. I have a unit test case which mocks out os.path.expanduser() but not the pathlib version. This works in 3.10 and earlier due to the indirection of the accessors, but in 3.11 the code ends up failing, since now the pathlib version of expanduser() is also getting into my mock.
I wonder if there might be other code out there which also might be depending on this behavior, without even realizing it.