[Distutils] Some negative press for easy_install

Michael Twomey micktwomey at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 08:59:56 CET 2006


Joe Gregorio has a fairly negative experience with easy_install here:

I think his points boil roughly down to these:

1. (not directly related to his first comment, but I think this might
be a source of problems) easy_install isn't always called
easy_install. In my case I've wound up with easy_install.py on some
systems at some point in the past. Would a possible solution be to
allow "python -m easy_install"? Then again I think it's pretty
consistent these days.

2. No --prefix option. I think this is a case of RTFM, since it's not
normally as simple as specifying a prefix. Maybe a help message which
explains why --prefix isn't supported might be useful?

3. In the error message he gets it shows bog standard distutils help,
so he tries --help-commands and gets an error. I think this is a
definite source of frustration.

4. He tries the --install-dir option which installs the package but of
course this leads to a multi-install so he can't do a plain import
foo. It might be good to link to
for an explanation here.

5. At this point he gives up and copies the source from svn.

I think in all the above there is an element of RTFM but he does have
a legitimate point when it comes to the command line help, based off
that alone you aren't likely to figure out the best way to use
easy_install if you are doing a non-system python install. I think a
link to http://peak.telecommunity.com/DevCenter/EasyInstall in the
help would work wonders.


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