[Distutils] Pre-pre-PEP: Requirements for the Python BUILDS Specification

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Fri Oct 10 21:27:37 CEST 2008

2008/10/10 Ian Bicking <ianb at colorstudy.com>:
> Paul Moore wrote:
>> My feeling, by the way, is that "system packagers" are the more
>> relevant group on Linux/Unix (where most users install Python modules
>> via system packages, or else they are developers)
> I think this is part of why I don't understand the system packager
> perspective.  Developers shouldn't use system packages, it just doesn't make
> any sense to have that intermediation.  Users don't use Python modules, they
> use applications.  Users only care that their applications work, that they
> can install applications without unnecessary conflicts, that the
> applications don't break based on unintentional environment changes (e.g.,
> the value of PYTHONPATH).

Interesting viewpoint (from my Windows developer/user POV :-))

>From my point of view, as a Windows developer, I want to use "system
packages" (bdist_wininst installers) because then I get the benefits
of having a listing of what I have installed, being able to quickly,
easily and cleanly install and uninstall packages to "try them out"
etc. I have the same environment for my one-off scripts as for my
development environment, which again I feel is good as I'm using a
consistent, familiar, toolset.

As a user, I want my applications packaged with py2exe, and
independent of the "system Python" - which for me is the development
environment, and therefore not stable enough to rely on for apps! And
as a developer, py2exe cleanly picks out those bits of my development
environment which are needed in the delivered application, so I don't
have to worry about installing "too much" before I package my
application up.

This probably reflects the fact that per-user, or any other sort of
private, installations of Python, are the exception rather than the
norm on Windows, whereas on Unix, building a custom Python to do your
development with (either from scratch, or with things like virtualenv)
is easy and sensible.

I guess the more we see how "the other half" lives (without the
flamewars :-)), the better we'll be able to compromise or provide
options to help everyone.

(Skipped the comments on system packaging, as you've confirmed what I
thought, which is that it's very much a Unix phenomenon, and I'm not
qualified to have an opinion...)


More information about the Distutils-SIG mailing list