[Distutils] Configuration etc.

Greg Ward gward@cnri.reston.va.us
Fri, 18 Dec 1998 17:26:13 -0500

Quoth Konrad Hinsen, on 18 December 1998:
> Everything lower-level is an implementation detail and not worth
> 10 KB of discussion ;-)

True to a certain extent -- but hey, we're programmers; we can't help
indulge in talking about low-level implementation details even when we
don't really have a high-level design.  But you're right that this *is*
a detail and should take a backseat to design matters for the time
being, although I think the discussion on sysconfig has been very useful 
and productive.

> And now for something completely different: implementation strategy.
> At some point we will have to move from discussing to programming,
> after all. It seems to me that the whole DistUtils project divides
> nicely into two almost independent subunits:
> - building binaries from source code
> - installing Python modules and binary extension modules

I know you (and most of the people who've been active on the SIG, for
that matter) weren't there, but we covered this pretty well at the
Developer's Day session.  The split is subtly different, into three

  * developer  - builds from source tree, creates source distribution,
                 possibly creates built distribution(s)
  * packager   - builds from source distribution, creates built distribution(s)
  * installer  - one of:
                   - builds from source distribution, installs
                   - installs from built distribution

See the session summary at


for details.  If you don't want to read the whole bloody thing, scroll
down to the big "workflow" diagram.  This really illustrates a lot of
what you're talking about, and what needs to be automated by the

> So maybe we should create two "task forces" that work on these
> subtopics, of course communicating as necessary.

Not a bad idea, but it would be *three* task forces: for building, for
creating distributions (source or built; built distributions can further
be smart or dumb), and for installing.

Greg Ward - software developer                    gward@cnri.reston.va.us
Corporation for National Research Initiatives    
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