[Distutils] setuptools: package management and explicit version numbers

Ian Bicking ianb at colorstudy.com
Thu Aug 11 19:10:19 CEST 2005

Paul Moore wrote:
>>FYI, if there's a source distribution, the new --editable option (in CVS)
>>allows you to download and extract the source for editing, without building
>>it or anything.
> I'm not sure how that helps. If there's a source, I can just run
> setup.py bdist_wininst anyway, so I don't see the difference.

The only real reason to use --editable is to get access to 
easy_install's ability to find, download, and unpack packages.  If you 
aren't interested in that, then it isn't really important.  I imagine at 
some time in the future easy_install will also read and confirm 
signatures, and may have things like GUI frontends.  But I think that's 
a ways off, and some things require a larger discussion (like signatures).

>>I could probably actually add postinstall hooks to EasyInstall, except that
>>it sort of goes against the concept of eggs being a "zero install"
>>format.  It's worth thinking about/investigating though.
> Given that the trend seems to be to install eggs via easy_install, I'm
> not sure "zero install" still applies. But if I can still just drop
> eggs into sys.path, maybe it does. Must review this stuff again.

If you drop an egg in sys.path, you have to use 
pkg_resources.require('PackageName') to actually load it.  easy_install 
also manipulates a .pth file, so require() isn't needed (but won't 
hurt).  For egg-aware applications this isn't an issue -- which almost 
the same as saying that for apps using eggs as plugins it isn't an issue.

>>That's not going to happen real soon; only a relatively tiny number of
>>people even know eggs exist, and as long as they have a reasonably-usable
>>bdist_wininst available then it's certainly a valid choice to just
>>distribute that, thereby pleasing EasyInstall users and non-users alike.
> That's what I thought. And it makes me reluctant to bother with eggs
> for standard packages at all, sadly. (Plugins etc are a completely
> different matter - for them, I think it's a wonderful technology!)

Sure; as a developer setuptools has useful features besides eggs, and is 
a superset of distutils.  I don't think there's any real reason *not* to 
use setuptools; but it's also fine to ignore setuptools' extra features.

Ian Bicking  /  ianb at colorstudy.com  /  http://blog.ianbicking.org

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