[Distutils] Questions about distutils strategy

Ian Searle ians@amc.com
Tue, 30 Nov 1999 07:23:33 -0800

We are developing a cross platform debug tool for embedded systems that uses Python as the central foundation.  We distribute our product on both solaris and windows nt.  Thus, distutils looked attractive for building our python extensions, which are
mostly C++.  This last weekend, I was working on an extension, and ended up punting distutils for two reasons:

1) the documentation is not adequate for a moron like me.  I needed to add a vendor supplied object file to the link command, and struck out on every attempt.  The doc gave me some clues, but was not specific enough to really help.  I realize that this is
version 0.1.

2) the main/compelling reason is that I have to debug the python extensions.  The extension implementation is normally tested, and debugged prior to integration into Python. But the extension layer often needs some debugging as we are interfacing C++ with
STL containers to Python data types.  I can debug just fine using distutils on Solaris/Linux, but cannot do the same on Windows.  As far as I can tell, you _have_ to have a DevStudio project setup to debug anything under windows.  Since our product will be
delivered as a standalone tool, including python, I do not need the distribution facilities of distutils, only the development. But, once I have developed a DevStudio project/workspace for an extension, there is little motivation to use distutils.

I am hopeful that distutils will evolve into a useful development and distribution tool for python.  Though, I wonder how the "debugging extensions on Windows" problem will be approached.

-Ian Searle