[Distutils] Python people want CPAN and how the latter came about

Lennart Regebro regebro at gmail.com
Tue Dec 22 19:04:00 CET 2009

2009/12/22 David Cournapeau <cournape at gmail.com>:
> By installer, I mean things produced by bdist_*. A significant portion
> of windows users don't like eggs, and prefer .exe-based (or
> .msi-based) installers. Currently, it is not possible to (reliably)
> convert from one to the other (e.g. eggs->wininst), but there is no
> reason why this is so.

You are right, I can't see any reason why not. Why can't you?
Obviously you can do it from a source distribution, but what
information is missing from the binary distributions?

> You are not wrong, but we are not talking about the same scenario. The
> scenario I care the most is user A build or install a package, and
> user B wants to install it; A may know very little about python.

In which case no sane user B wants to install it. ;)

How is this a different scenario? What scenario was I talking about?

On Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 14:02, David Cournapeau <cournape at gmail.com> wrote:
> From the top of my head:
>  - how data files are included

Well, there are rules for that, just as with python files, you dont'
have to explicitly specify every file that should be included, thank
god, that would be really annoying.

 And this has WHAT to do with CPAN? Just to try to keep even remotely
on topic? Isn't this turning into the usual "distutils sucks and
should be rewritten but I can't explain why and how" rant? And isn't
the answer still: "Well, do it then?"

> Features only help as much as long as you agree on the purpose (or
> "state of mind" as I put it). A lot of things I consider misfeatures
> in the whole packaging ecosystem in python are justified by being
> convenience to the developer, at the cost of reliability (at least in
> my opinion).
> Data files is my favorite example, as it is deceptively simple
> feature-wise, and yet so confusing. We had 2 emails in the recent days
> on this ML on the topic, and even people very familiar with distutils
> got it wrong. Just considering numpy.distutils/distutils/setuptools,
> there are 5 ways to handle data files at least (data_files,
> package_data, MANIFEST[.in], VCS, add_data_dir). None of them makes it
> easy to install a data file in arbitrary location. I think
> distutils/setuptools lacks a robust way of including data files, but
> it is not as much a feature problem (which could be solved relatively
> easily), as more a problem of what people want.
> The devil is really in the details for packaging, which is why
> explicit is a very desirable feature. Someone noticed earlier that
> distutils was the exact contrary of the python zen on some core
> issues: more than one way to do it, lack of simplicity, often
> implicit. I think this describe the problem quite well, and I am
> deeply convinced that that's the root cause of the failure of Pypi for
> a subset of the community.

Well, you have completely failed in explaining why CPAN is fantastic
and PyPI sucks, probably because your answer isn't about CPAN at all,
but just the same old packaging rant. It really grows old you know.

Lennart Regebro: Python, Zope, Plone, Grok
+33 661 58 14 64

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