[Distutils] "Python Package Management Sucks"

Rick Warner rwarner at snaplogic.org
Wed Sep 24 00:42:03 CEST 2008

Jim Fulton wrote:
> On Sep 23, 2008, at 5:44 PM, Rick Warner wrote:
>> Jeff Younker wrote:
>>> I have to say, as a developer, and a system administrator, I like 
>>> setuptools.   It does
>>> what I need.  Could it be better?  Sure.  For what I use python for 
>>> on a day-to-day
>>> basis it makes my life a thousand times better than it was before 
>>> setuptools.  Nothing
>>> ruins your day more than spending *hours* tracing down package 
>>> dependencies
>>> just to get the *one* package you need to allow you to perform some 
>>> crucial task.
>>> It's even worse when you have to do it on multiple architectures.
>>> Perl's package location and installation system (CPAN) is one of the 
>>> primary facts
>>> contributing to its success.   Perl is a pig.  It's a charming pig 
>>> that can do lots of tricks,
>>> but a pig none the less.  What makes it shine is CPAN. And here's 
>>> the catch:  CPAN
>>> isn't really any better than setuptools.  It's got warts and nuts 
>>> all over the place, but
>>> it works.
>> And CPAN has some HUGE advantages over setuptools: it is designed as 
>> a repository, and it is replicated.   Which means it is dependable.  
>> Anyone who suffered through the multiple outages of PyPI (which in 
>> not replicated) over the past year or so, or the ongoing outages of 
>> the many repositories across the web to which PyPI directs 
>> users/processes, can understand why this is important.
> Actually, PyPI is replicated.  See, for example, 
> http://download.zope.org/simple/.
> It may be that some of the mirrors should be better advertised.

A half-hearted effort. at best, after the problems last year.  When I 
configure a CPAN client (once per user) I create a list of replicas I 
want to search for any query from a list of hundreds of  replicas 
distributed around the world.  From then on the client automatically 
switches to one of my selected replicas when one does not respond in a 
timely manner.  The minimal set of recent PyPI replicas are neither well 
advertised, and are not automatically searched,  so therefore 
ineffective.  And that is a mere tip of the iceberg, since PyPI is just 
the index, and the repositories are for the most part not replicated.  
CPAN sites are both index and repository.   Setuptools and PyPI are 
light years behind CPAN in regards to creating a usable, reliable method 
of package deployment.

- rick

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