[Distutils] [Fwd: Re: Annoucing distribute project]

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Thu Sep 25 19:36:35 CEST 2008

I don't think anyone loves distutils, or even likes it. Unfortunately
replacing it will be very tough, because distutils has arcane but
important knowledge built into it about many platforms, and a new
from-scratch system is unlikely to reach that level of coverage for
years. There's also the issue that it's not enough to roll out the
replacement with a new version of Python -- it would leave everyone
using the old distutils in the lurch. It's a prime example of the
network effect: until everyone owns one, nobody will want to own one.
The best strategy I can think of would be to gradually rewrite the
existing distutils, remaining compatible but also offering new APIs,
and 5 years hence maybe the installed base will be close enough to
100% that developers writing setup scripts will start using the new
features. That's how AJAX conquered the world.


On Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 10:18 AM, Blake Winton <bwinton at latte.ca> wrote:
> Just as a question, is there _any_ chance of a new project to replace
> distutils being accepted into Python?
> Thanks,
> Blake.
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [Distutils] Annoucing distribute project
> Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2008 12:55:36 -0400
> From: Jim Fulton <jim at zope.com>
> To: Andreas Jung <lists at zopyx.com>
> CC: distutils-sig at python.org
> References: <94bdd2610809240432i307ed937rbfb1fd063cec915b at mail.gmail.com>
> <20080924173708.13DA93A4128 at sparrow.telecommunity.com>
> <94bdd2610809241244p13ad74dbkc13ee5b3ae3e14c8 at mail.gmail.com>
> <48DAA90C.20504 at free.fr>
> <20080924213342.612CC3A4127 at sparrow.telecommunity.com>
> <94bdd2610809241456o20dade8bl4b46f3e0ed7aeb90 at mail.gmail.com>
> <20080924223457.2BD7E3A4127 at sparrow.telecommunity.com>
> <94bdd2610809242252j131d9fbcyd3e629667b455d29 at mail.gmail.com>
> <20080925163034.208613A4072 at sparrow.telecommunity.com>
> <C0E161B65AAB12A92255EE01 at suxmac.local>
> On Sep 25, 2008, at 12:46 PM, Andreas Jung wrote:
>> --On 25. September 2008 12:31:40 -0400 "Phillip J. Eby"
>> <pje at telecommunity.com > wrote:
>>> Personally, I would rather see not a "fork", but development of an
>>> entirely new disutils replacement, and then not worry at all about
>>> backward compatibility at the setup.py level.  Apart from the
>>> pkg_resources module, I would treat setuptools and distutils as  legacy
>>> infrastructure, and explore better ways to build and manage
>>>  distributions
>>> (including eggs).
>> We can not restart with something completely different or new. Such  an
>> approach would be totally unacceptable due to the huge amount of  existing
>> modules having switched to setuptools. Setuptools or an  improved codefork
>> must be the tools for managing distibutions in  Python.
> I would be willing to start with something new if and only if it was
> adopted as part of Python.
> Jim
> --
> Jim Fulton
> Zope Corporation
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--Guido van Rossum (home page: http://www.python.org/~guido/)

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