Sorry to bump this 2 year+ old thread.
This recently caused some serious head scratching. Barry's excellent analysis of what happens seems spot on on to me.
Does anyone know if this issue was ever "resolved" or turned into a bug report? I can see that the Debian packaging of the lazr.* packages that Barry used as example still has this in their debian/rules:
override_dh_auto_install: dh_auto_install find debian/python*-lazr.* -name '*.pth' -delete
I.e. they undo the "accidental" installation of nspkg.pth files that install_egg_info caused.
I'm doing the same in our packages right now, but it feels like a band-aid solution.
In my case it's a bunch of company internal packages that all install under an "orexplore" namespace package. I'm actually distributing with a __init__.py for the namespace package and using namespace_packages= in setup.py, so it's not PEP 420 from the get go. It only becomes a PEP 420 when the debhelper has its way with it (stripping the __init__.py, but problematically also installing the nspkg.pth).
Many thanks in advance.
On Mar 24, 2014, at 5:48 PM, Barry Warsaw <barry at python.org> wrote:
Apologies for cross-posting, but this intersects setuptools and the import system, and I wanted to be sure it reached the right audience.
A colleague asked me why a seemingly innocent and common use case for developing local versions of system installed packages wasn't working, and I was quite perplexed. As I dug into the problem, more questions than answers came up. I finally (think! I) figured out what is happening, but not so much as to why, or what can/should be done about it.
This person had a local checkout of a package's source, where the package was also installed into the system Python. He wanted to be able to set $PYTHONPATH so that the local package wins when he tries to import it. E.g.:
% PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/src python3
but this didn't work because despite the setting of PYTHONPATH, the system version of the package was always found first. The package in question is lazr.uri, although other packages with similar layouts will also suffer the same problem, which prevents an easy local development of a newer version of the package, aside from being a complete head-scratcher.
The lazr.uri package is intended to be a submodule of the lazr namespace package. As such, the lazr/__init__.py has the old style way of declaring a namespace package:
try: import pkg_resources pkg_resources.declare_namespace(__name__) except ImportError: import pkgutil __path__ = pkgutil.extend_path(__path__, __name__)
and its setup.py declares a namespace package:
setup( name='lazr.uri', version=__version__, namespace_packages=['lazr'], ...
One of the things that the Debian "helper" program does when it builds a package for the archive is call `$python setup.py install_egg_info`. It's this command that breaks $PYTHONPATH overriding.
install_egg_info looks at the lazr.uri.egg-info/namespace_packages.txt file, in which it finds the string 'lazr', and it proceeds to write a lazr-uri-1.0.3-py3.4-nspkg.pth file. This causes other strange and unexpected things to happen:
% python3 Python 3.4.0 (default, Mar 22 2014, 22:51:25) [GCC 4.8.2] on linux Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
import sys sys.modules['lazr']
It's completely weird that sys.modules would contain a key for 'lazr' when that package was never explicitly imported. Even stranger, because a fake module object is stuffed into sys.modules via the .pth file, tracing imports with -v gives you no clue as to what's happening. And while sys.modules['lazr'] has an __path__, it has no other attributes.
I really don't understand what the purpose of the nspkg.pth file is, especially for Python 3 namespace packages.
Here's what the nspkg.pth file contains:
import sys,types,os; p = os.path.join(sys._getframe(1).f_locals['sitedir'], *('lazr',)); ie = os.path.exists(os.path.join(p,'__init__.py')); m = not ie and sys.modules.setdefault('lazr',types.ModuleType('lazr')); mp = (m or ) and m.__dict__.setdefault('__path__',); (p not in mp) and mp.append(p)
The __path__ value is important here because even though you've never explicitly imported 'lazr', when you *do* explicitly import 'lazr.uri', the existing lazr module object's __path__ takes over, and thus the system lazr.uri package is found even though both lazr/ and lazr/uri/ should have been found earlier on sys.path (yes, sys.path looks exactly as expected).
So the presence of the nspkg.pth file breaks $PYTHONPATH overriding. That seems bad. ;)
If you delete the nspkg.path file, then things work as expected, but even this is a little misleading!
I think the Debian helper is running install_egg_info as a way to determine what namespace packages are defined, so that it can actually *remove* the parent's __init__.py file and use PEP 420 style namespace packages. In fact, in the Debian python3-lazr.uri binary package, you find no system lazr/__init__.py file. This is why removing the nspkg.pth file works.
So I thought, why not conditionally define setup(..., namespace_packages) only for Python 2? This doesn't work because the Debian helper will see that no namespace packages are defined, and thus it will leave the original lazr/__init__.py file in place. This then breaks $PYTHONPATH overriding too because of __path__ extension of the pre-PEP 420 code only *appends* the local development path. IOW, the system import path is the first element of a 2-element list on lazr.__path__. While the local import path is the second element, in this case too the local import fails.
It seems like what you want for Python 3 (and we're talking >= 3.2 here) is for there to be neither a nspkg.pth file, nor the lazr/__init__.py file, and let PEP 420 do it's thing. In fact if you set things up this way, $PYTHONPATH overriding works exactly as expected.
Because I don't know why install_egg_info is installing the nspkg.pth file, I don't know which component needs to be changed:
Change setuptools install_egg_info command to not install an nspkg.pth file even for namespace_package declare packages, at least under Python 3. This behavior seems pretty nasty all by itself because it magically and untraceably installs stripped down module objects in sys.modules when Python first scans the import path.
Change the Debian helper to remove the nspkg.pth file, or not call install_egg_info *and* continue to remove <nspkg>/__init__.py in Python 3 so as to take advantage of PEP 420. It's nice to know that PEP 420 actually represents something sane. :)
For added bonus, we have this additional oddity:
% PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/src python3 Python 3.4.0 (default, Mar 22 2014, 22:51:25) [GCC 4.8.2] on linux Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
import sys sys.modules['lazr']
import lazr.uri lazr.uri.__file__
<module 'lazr' from '/home/barry/projects/ubuntu/lazruri/trusty/src/lazr/__init__.py'>
Notice how importing lazr.uri *replaces* sys.modules['lazr'] with the local development one, even though it still imports lazr.uri from the system path. I'm not exactly sure how this happens, but I've traced that to _LoaderBasics.exec_module()'s call of _call_with_frames_removed(), which exec's lazr.uri's code object into that module's __dict__. Nothing in lazr/uri/__init__.py should be doing that, afaict from both visual inspection of the code and disassembling the compiled code object.
Hopefully I've explained the situation correctly and lucidly. Below I'll describe how to set up a reproducible environment on a Debian machine. Thoughts and comments are welcome!
% sudo apt-get install python3-lazr.uri % cd tmp % bzr branch lp:lazr.uri trunk % cd trunk % PYTHONPATH=`pwd`/src python3 (Then try things at the Python prompt from above.) _______________________________________________ Distutils-SIG maillist - Distutils-SIG at python.org https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/distutils-sig