[Distutils] Are egg files needed when building/installing via --root?

Phillip J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Sat Nov 29 05:22:23 CET 2008

At 09:50 PM 11/28/2008 -0800, Brian Cameron wrote:
>Thank you and Nathan for the answers.  That is very helpful information
>to me.  I have been reading further and took a look at the
>documentation, and notice egg files and metadata are described here:
>However, I didn't find any references to the situation I am describing,
>about how these files are useful to install even when not shipping the
>module as eggs.  If such documentation exists, I am sure that would help
>me further understand how this works.  Or might the documentation
>benefit from discussing this a bit more?  The documentation does not 
>provide any real examples of what constitutes metadata, or why being
>able to store metadata is generally useful.

Please feel free to suggest specific additions, especially in the 
form of a patch.  ;-)

If you're looking for documentation of the internal format of eggs, please see:


Which describes the contents of .egg-info directories.

I'm making the assumption, by the way, that my response was clear as 
to why you should not remove the .egg-info directories; even if you 
can get away with it for some specific subset of packages and/or 
installation circumstances, you will be bitten eventually when your 
set of packages expands or a package begins using the other features 
at a later date, etc.  This has already happened to at least one 
Linux distribution that I'm aware of; they had been stripping out the 
.egg-info and it then caused more problems for their users than it 
was worth.  (There really wasn't any benefit to stripping them out, 
actually, since the space usage is minimal compared to the size of 
the code in a typical package, especially for the distutils-generated 
.egg-info which is only one short file per package.)

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