TL;DR: OK to archive this mailing list? Reply by Aug 30th.
Below: Context, Proposal, Reasoning, and timeline.
For multiple years now, we've been advising users to use setuptools and
to move away from using distutils. There has been a long standing
plan [^1] to vendor distutils into setuptools to allow it to evolve
independently of the Python standard library and to allow for removal of
distutils from the Python standard library.
Recently, setuptools adopted the distutils [^2] which, as far as I can
tell, starts the long process of removing distutils from the Python
standard library. PEP 517 [^3] also removed the special status of
distutils/setuptools as the only pipeline that can be used for
generating distributions for Python projects.
For some time now, "distutils" has not been a "primary" tool in the
broader Python Packaging ecosystem, with setuptools being an overall
superior tool that also has a good interoperability story with the other
Python packaging tooling. This is acknowledged in the description of
this mailing list as:
> Now, it's better described as the "packaging interoperability SIG",
> where issues that cut across different parts of the Python packaging
> ecosystem get discussed and resolved.
However, this mailing list is no longer serving this stated role either,
with the Packaging category on discuss.python.org becoming the primary
location for packaging tool interoperability discussions.
Over the last year, the Packaging category on discuss.python.org had 841
active topics, with only 40 topics with 3 or fewer responses. [^5]
In the last 100 days, the Packaging category on discuss.python.org has
had 91 active topics. More than 10 PEPs have been discussed in the
Packaging category on discuss.python.org in the last 100 days.
Over the last year, distutils-sig had ~109 active threads, with
(based on a quick skim) most having 3 or fewer responses/posters. [^4]
In the last 100 days, distutils-sig has had 32 active threads (at least
7 of these have the same subject as another thread with Re:/Fwd: added).
There has been only 1 PEP-related feedback discussion on distutils-sig
in the last year. Most of the other threads are user support requests or
I suggest that, one month from now, we stop posting to this list
(distutils-sig(a)python.org) and archive it.
I think we do not use this mailing list for its dedicated purpose, and
it does not serve any secondary function that isn't better served by a
different communication channel already.
(1) this mailing list is no longer the primary location for
(2) we have better channels for user support requests (such as
issue trackers of various projects, packaging-problems etc.)
(3) we have other channels for making announcements (such as the
pypi-announce mailing list, the PyPA twitter account,
Here's what I suggest, and what I will carry out if there is no
In one month, on August 30th, I would verify that no one has argued here
for why this mailing list should not be closed/archived.
Or, even if a few people have objected to closing the list, I would
check for rough consensus, especially of people who are doing SOMETHING
productive having to do with Python Packaging (such as maintainers of
Python packages, maintainers of Python Packaging tooling, folks running
key infrastructure, etc.).
Then, I would request the list administrators to post a final message
to this list (marking its close and suggesting that people use
discuss.python.org instead) and, to archive this mailing list. This
would leave archives available at their current URLs, so links, browsing
and search would work.
And finally, I would look through relevant documentation within PyPA
repositories to see what needs updating (READMEs and so on pointing to
the old list), and submit pull requests.
I appreciate the work folks here have done to carry forward Python
packaging over the past 21 years of this mailing list. I don't mean to
diminish that or to insult anyone here. I want to help us out, and I
think closing this list will help focus our energy better. But I am
open to hearing that I am wrong.
On behalf of the PyPA and the pip team, I am pleased to announce that we
have just released pip 20.3, a new version of pip. You can install it by
running `python -m pip install --upgrade pip`.
will be easier to read in a web browser and to link to.]
This is an important and disruptive release -- we [explained why in a
blog post last
even made [a video about
* **DISRUPTION**: Switch to the new dependency resolver by
default. (#9019) Watch out for changes in handling editable
installs, constraints files, and more:
* **DEPRECATION**: Deprecate support for Python 3.5 (to be removed in
pip 21.0) (#8181)
* **DEPRECATION**: pip freeze will stop filtering the pip, setuptools,
distribute and wheel packages from pip freeze output in a future
version. To keep the previous behavior, users should use the new
`--exclude` option. (#4256)
* Substantial improvements in new resolver for performance, output and
error messages, avoiding infinite loops, and support for constraints
* Support for PEP 600: Future ‘manylinux’ Platform Tags for Portable
Linux Built Distributions. (#9077)
* Documentation improvements: Resolver migration guide, quickstart
guide, and new documentation theme.
* Add support for MacOS Big Sur compatibility tags. (#9138)
The new resolver is now *on by default*. It is significantly stricter
and more consistent when it receives incompatible instructions, and
reduces support for certain kinds of constraints files, so some
workarounds and workflows may break. Please see [our guide on how to
test and migrate, and how to report
can use the deprecated (old) resolver, using the flag
`--use-deprecated=legacy-resolver`, until we remove it in the pip 21.0
release in January 2021.
You can find more details (including deprecations and removals) [in the
## User experience
Command-line output for this version of pip, and documentation to help
with errors, is significantly better, because you worked with our
experts to test and improve it. [Contribute to our user experience work:
sign up to become a member of the UX Studies
group](https://bit.ly/pip-ux-studies) (after you join, we'll notify you
about future UX surveys and interviews).
## What to expect in 20.1
We aim to release pip 20.1 in January 2021, per our [usual release
You can expect:
* Removal of [Python
and 3.5 support
* Further improvements in the new resolver
* Removal of legacy resolver support
As with all pip releases, a significant amount of the work was
contributed by pip's user community. Huge thanks to all who have
contributed, whether through code, documentation, issue reports and/or
discussion. Your help keeps pip improving, and is hugely appreciated.
Specific thanks go to Mozilla (through its [Mozilla Open Source
Support](https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/moss/) Awards) and to the [Chan
Zuckerberg Initiative](https://chanzuckerberg.com/eoss/) DAF, an
advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, for their funding
that enabled substantial work on the new resolver.
That funding went to [Simply Secure](https://simplysecure.org/)
(specifically Georgia Bullen, Bernard Tyers, Nicole Harris, Ngọc
Triệu, and Karissa McKelvey), [Changeset
Consulting](https://changeset.nyc/) (Sumana Harihareswara),
[Atos](https://www.atos.net) (Paul F. Moore), [Tzu-ping
Chung](https://uranusjr.com), [Pradyun Gedam](https://pradyunsg.me/),
and Ilan Schnell. Thanks also to Ernest W. Durbin III at the Python
Software Foundation for liaising with the project.
Sumana Harihareswara, pip project manager
I'm a member of the PyCharm team, and we faced a rather critical issue with the release of pip 2020.3 (https://youtrack.jetbrains.com/issue/PY-45712). It turned out that we actually still used the "--build-dir" option in our internal scripts for installing packages through pip, and we completely missed the fact that it was deprecated. To make the matter worse, a few releases back we implemented automatic upgrading of packaging tools in all virtual environments created in the IDE, so now it's impossible to install anything in a new project unless pip is explicitly downgraded first.
Judging by how pip now operates regarding building of packages, this option can be safely dropped in our wrappers, but we still need some time to prepare and test patches for a few previous releases and upcoming 2020.3. Is it possible to give us some time to soften the blow for the users?
The second question is about the behavior of this option. It appears that we initially started using it because in the past packages were not built in a temporary directory by default. Could you please point me to the exact version of pip where it changed? -- I couldn't find it in a changelog. It would help us decide whether we need to keep some compatibility layer for interpreters with an old version of pip installed.
Thanks a lot!