[Distutils] Moving distutils minimum required version to 2.3

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Tue Jun 21 10:01:26 CEST 2005

Anthony Baxter wrote:
> I've checked distutils into the python sandbox for a major
> chunk of refactoring, including killing distutils.log and 
> distutils.fancy_getopt. I plan to upgrade the minimum 
> required version of distutils to 2.3 - I will be using 
> the logging and optparse modules from the stdlib. This 
> means that the version of distutils included in 2.4 will
> be the last version guaranteed to work on 2.1 and 2.2 -- 
> but I seriously question whether anyone is ever going to
> be making standalone distutils distributions again.

That's not really the point: the reason we keep the compatibility
to Python 2.1 is that package builders and users building
the packages themselves will want to create builds for
various Python versions, so that need a distutils version
that works with mutiple recent Python versions.

If you now jump to Python 2.3 as requirement, package
authors will have to adapt their setup.py and associated
distutils files to work with yet another variation of
backend system. This is bound to break the simple install
instructions of "python setup.py install" one way or

It will also not be possible to use new developments in
distutils for packages targetted for Python versions prior
to Python 2.3 and - because distutils is normally extended
via subclassing - make it harder to have setup.pys which
work across multiple Python versions.

I'd suggest to have distutils use the new tools from Python
2.3 if available, but still continue to ship its own versions
for Python versions prior to 2.3.

If you really want to bump the minimum required version
for the complete package, then the next obvious choice
would be Python 2.2 - in general, I think keeping backwards
compatibility to the last 3 released Python versions is
a good approach and gives enough time to the users, packagers
and authors to adapt their software to new requirements.

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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