Attached is a first draft of a proposal to use the "site-packages" directory for locally installed modules, on all platforms instead of just on Unix. If the consensus is that this is a worthwhile proposal, I'll submit it as a formal PEP.
Any advice or suggestions welcomed - I've never written a PEP before - I hope I've got the procedure right...
PEP: TBA Title: Install local packages in site-packages on all platforms Version $Revision$ Author: Paul Moore email@example.com Status: Draft Type: Standards Track Python-Version: 2.2 Created: 2001-03-30 Post-History: TBA
The standard Python distribution includes a directory Lib/site-packages, which is used on Unix platforms to hold locally-installed modules and packages. The site.py module distributed with Python includes support
for locating modules in this directory.
This PEP proposes that the site-packages directory should be used uniformly across all platforms for locally installed modules.
On Windows platforms, the default setting for sys.path does not include
a directory suitable for users to install locally-developed modules. The "expected" location appears to be the directory containing the Python executable itself. Including locally developed code in the same directory as installed executables is not good practice.
Clearly, users can manipulate sys.path, either in a locally modified site.py, or in a suitable sitecustomize.py, or even via .pth files. However, there should be a standard location for such files, rather than relying on every individual site having to set their own policy. In addition, with distutils becoming more prevalent as a means of distributing modules, the need for a standard install location for distributed modules will become more common. It would be better to
define such a standard now, rather than later when more distutils-based packages exist which will need rebuilding.
It is relevant to note that prior to Python 2.1, the site-packages directory was not included in sys.path for Macintosh platforms. This has been changed in 2.1, and Macintosh includes sys.path now, leaving
Windows as the only major platform with no site-specific modules directory.
The implementation of this feature is fairly trivial. All that would be required is a change to site.py, to change the section setting sitedirs. The Python 2.1 version has if os.sep == '/': sitedirs = [makepath(prefix, "lib", "python" + sys.version[:3], "site-packages"), makepath(prefix, "lib", "site-python")] elif os.sep == ':': sitedirs = [makepath(prefix, "lib", "site-packages")] else: sitedirs = [prefix] A suitable change would be to simply replace the last 4 lines with else: sitedirs = [makepath(prefix, "lib", "site-packages")] Changes would also be required to distutils, in the sysconfig.py file.
It is worth noting that this file does not seem to have been updated in line with the change of policy on the Macintosh, as of this writing.
1. It would be better if this change could be included in Python 2.1, as changing something of this nature is better done sooner, rather than later, to reduce the backward-compatibility burden. This is extremely unlikely to happen at this late stage in the release cycle, however. 2. This change does not preclude packages using the current location - the change only adds a directory to sys.path, it does not remove anything. 3. In the Windows distribution of Python 2.1 (beta 1), the Lib\site-packages directory has been removed. It would need to be reinstated.
This document has been placed in the public domain.