On Wed, April 9, 2008 10:05 pm, Greg Ewing <greg.ewing(a)canterbury.ac.nz>
> Message: 4
> Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:59:39 +1200
> From: Greg Ewing <greg.ewing(a)canterbury.ac.nz>
> Subject: Re: [Distutils] how to easily consume just the parts of eggs
> that are good for you
> To: distutils-sig(a)python.org
> Paul Moore wrote:
>> I believe that Mac OS X goes for an even simpler structure -
>> applications store *everything* in the one directory, so that
>> install/uninstall is simply a directory copy/remove.
> Yep, and thereby cuts the whole gordian knot, throws the
> pieces on the fire and burns them. :-)
> Package managers have always seemed to me to be an
> excessively complex solution to a problem that needn't
> have existed in the first place.
> I keep hoping that someday Linux will support something
> like MacOSX application bundles and frameworks, but I
> haven't seen any sign of it yet.
I think this discussion arises because the operating systems we are
dealing with are based on very different concepts.
Windows and Mac are fundamentally single user systems that have added
capabilities for multiple users and are intended to be used with
proprietary software. Those considerations lead to minimal dependencies
among packages (each proprietary provider needs to control its own
package, except for the OS), individual users serving as their own
sysadmins, and similar factors. Any dependencies in the proprietary
software are hidden from the user because the provider has compiled the
dependencies into the binary code they supply.
Unix/Linux are fundamentally multi-user systems with a distinct role for a
sysadmin. Linux and the BSD's are intended to be used with Free/Open
Source Software (FOSS), and Unix originated the Software Tools concept in
which individual, relatively simple, separately-developed tools are
combined to perform complex tasks. Both FOSS and the Software Tools
concept encourage dependencies.
The need for package managers arises out of the Unix FHS. If you look at
the FHS, it is clearly designed to simplify the job of the sysadmin in a
multi-user system that uses FOSS and Software Tools. For example,
deciding what to backup and how often to do it in a Unix/Linux system is
relatively easy for the sysadmin. All the installed software is in
certain top-level directories. All the config files are in /etc. All the
logs. caches, spools, web pages, process locks, and certain other data are
in /var. All the user data is in /home or its sysadmin-determined
equivalents. If the sysadmin needs space, deleting files in /tmp will not
cause a problem.
In summary, Python is being used on systems that have very different
underlying OS use cases. To some extent, the natural use case for Python
is closest to that of Linux/Unix. Running Python on Windows/Mac requires
adapting for those platforms some of the kinds of tools that simplify
operations on Linux/Unix systems. This discussion is essentially about
how far that goes, how to accomplish it, and how to remain compatible with
the existing tools on Linux/Unix.