[Distutils] [pyconuk] "just use debian"

David Cournapeau david at ar.media.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Mon Sep 29 13:46:15 CEST 2008

Nicolas Chauvat wrote:
> Sure, the package system I use is bigger than yours (if you are not
> using Debian), but that's not my main point and insisting on it would
> turn into an endless flame war. Can we focus on something else?

Sure, that's what I am interested in :)

> You call me narrow minded, but I pretend to understand why people came
> up with distutils/setuptools/eggs etc. I have been there. I felt the
> need for a tool to easily manage systems and install dependencies. I
> started writing one myself. Then I discovered Debian and stopped using
> the other tools I had. Problem solved. For me.

The problem is that debian packages are not always the solution (even on
debian systems). Two big problems are:
    - installation as non root
    - developers deploying their own software on a custom debian
repository does not scale at all.

We have to think about those user-case.
> I repeat. I am not trying to force other people to use Debian, I am
> trying to get other people not to force me to use tools I do not need
> (distutils, etc) for I have good ones already (debian packages).

This part I don't understand: distutils and debian dpkg-related tools do
have some overlap, but they are not a replacement from each other. In
particular, distutils manages the details of python C extensions, etc...

Where distutils failed big time IMHO is that it made it more difficult
for you (or for me for that matter), not easier. Autotools did help
packagers; a distutils successor should be able to help without getting
in the way. For example, by providing simple discoverable meta-data.
Wouldn't it help a debian packager to have a simple description of the
meta-data for the dependencies ? Wouldn't it help if it was easy to set
data_dir, doc_dir, etc... according to the FHS ? Autotools "packages"
are relatively easy to package; I don't see why we could not achieve the
same for python packages.



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