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

David Lyon david.lyon at preisshare.net
Wed Dec 23 07:37:44 CET 2009

On Tue, 22 Dec 2009 19:04:00 +0100, Lennart Regebro <regebro at gmail.com>

> Isn't this turning into the usual "distutils sucks and
> should be rewritten but I can't explain why and how" rant? 


I just want to revisit this, to hopefully close it.

Those words are entirely yours. Not those who are able
to explain how and why, with or without the rant. 

David C sums it up very nicely by saying that distutils
works by implicit specification of build information. That's
in contrast to the rest of the software world - using
explicit build systems.

If anything, everybody who's saying anything on the list
now understands this and can live with it. For better or

There's some progress underway. There are commits happening.

One very important thing to remember is just who started
this request to look into 'cpan' style packaging in the
first place.

If I'm not wrong, it came right from the top. So go
hassle whoever that might be. But even then, that's just
a response to calls by plain ordinary users in the field.

With CPAN, they would never label discussion or feedback
as 'rant'.

Actually, they went and had a beer, and fixed most of
the issues *before* there could even be a complaint.

That's still true today.

> And isn't the answer still: "Well, do it then?"

I refer you to reread Steffens original post. It is very

No one person is able to do this. That being, redo distutils.

There's something in Steffens post about 'the sum of the parts
being greater..'. That entirely sums it up for me.

It's too big a job for any one person to commence. One has to 
question what the return on investment would be. One could
estimate that even a cheap distutils replacement could 
cost $80,000. That might get something - i guess.

But who has that sort of time/money to throw around ?

Certainly not the banks or the stock exchange brokers who use
python for their own commercial benefit. So why ask it from 
the volunteers ? 

And if python management aren't united on the need for it,
doing a distutils replacement becomes an even weaker

If there is work underway.. lets just get it finished..

PEP-345 has been open since 2005. In CPAN it just would
have been a beer fight and have been over in a weekend.



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