[Distutils] [pyconuk] "Python Package Management Sucks"

Nicolas Chauvat nicolas.chauvat at logilab.fr
Fri Sep 26 22:33:22 CEST 2008

On Tue, Sep 23, 2008 at 11:37:53AM +0100, Chris Withers wrote:
>> Install debian and get back to productive tasks.
> This is an almost troll-like answer.

True. But it worked, didn't it? Hopefully the thread will end up with
some positive output. :)

> See page 35 of the presentation.
> If you're too lazy, here's a re-hash:
> - there are lots of different operating systems


> - even with Linux, there are many different package management systems

I would not link package management systems that strongly to operating
systems (or kernels): http://www.debian.org/ports/index#nonlinux

> - all the package management systems behave differently and expect  
> packages to be set up differently for them

But there is the Linux Standard Base to bind them.

> - expecting package developers to shoulder this burden is unfair and  
> results in various bitrotting repackaged versions of python packages  
> rather than just one up-to-date version maintained by the entity  
> originating the python package

PyPI says it holds 4818 packages. I doubt all of these are actually
worth being packaged. Please note that my point of view is not the one
of the developer or single-user who wants to try out something easily
and quickly, but the one of the developer that has to deploy his
software many times in many places and maintain them in production for
a long time. 

I understand easy_install and similar tools make it easy to try
something out in one's home directory and I have nothing to say
against that. I complain that some advocate this as the One True Way
to distribute their code and end up with code that depends on it, thus
complicating matters for the ones who have been happily using tools
that manage entire systems for years.

> - Adobe Photoshop Plugins, Firefox Add-ons, etc do not delegate their  
> management to an OS package manager. Packages are Python's "plugins" and  
> so should get the same type of consistent, cross-platform package  
> management targetted at the application in question, which is Python in  
> this case.

I strongly disagree with this. I guess this is why you may like a
Python-specific package management system whereas I never will.

To me, there is no such thing as a clear boundary between a "Python
subsystem" and the rest of a computing system. A have only one
(complex) system, in my case Debian, and want only one tool to manage

Nicolas Chauvat

logilab.fr - services en informatique scientifique et gestion de connaissances  

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