[Distutils] Observations

Greg Ward gward@cnri.reston.va.us
Wed, 16 Dec 1998 08:33:28 -0500

Quoth Robertson, Joseph M, on 15 December 1998:
> I like the scriptable builds stuff.  Just like Instalit of the old days.  If
> fact I'd suggest we use a similar method.  The build script tags data such
> as whether to check file dates, versions, etc when installing; what
> compression type to use, etc, etc.

What is "Instalit"? -- I've heard the name pop up once or twice in the
last week or so, but never heard of it before.  Remember, we're not all
on the same wavelength here!

> Question: How does your system install a working python program if the
> target has no python whatsoever on it?

That's something I for one haven't considered.  It's not currently on
the plate of the SIG, but should probably be considered for the future.
Here's one possible long-term roadmap:

  * first, be able to build, distribute, and install Python modules:
    this will make it easy to extend an existing Python installation
  * next, be able to install a complete Python application (scripts +
    modules): this will mainly involve doing the module installation
    thing plus dependency tracking (ie. what *other* modules are 
    required by this application)
  * finally, be able to distribute a Python application to systems
    that don't have Python at all

All three are worthy goals indeed, and "distribution utilities"
certainly covers all three.  But there's a clear order to be followed,
and right now we're concentrating on the first job.  The second should
follow without a great deal of difficulty, and third could either be a
snap (just install one of the large number of pre-built Python
distributions) or a morass.

Greg Ward - software developer                    gward@cnri.reston.va.us
Corporation for National Research Initiatives    
1895 Preston White Drive                      voice: +1-703-620-8990 x287
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