[Distutils] [Python Language Summit] Distutils / Packaging survey

Tarek Ziade tarek.ziade at ingeniweb.com
Wed Jan 28 18:11:37 CET 2009

2009/1/28 zooko <zooko at zooko.com>:
> Yesterday I spoke to a couple of hackers who use my allmydata-tahoe project,
> which is packaged with setuptools.  They complained about setuptools getting
> in their way, and I asked them each to name their top two complaints.

Please be aware that the Language Summit, and the Survey we are
building for it is mostly about Distutils and PyPI, not setuptools.

>From my point of view, there's no intent to contribute in setuptools,
but rather to see what are the good bits in setuptools that
could be put in Distutils, because this project adds gerat features.

That said, the uninstall feature is a requirement on Distutils level
as well, and that could be used in setuptools.

> The first hacker, David, said:
> David 1.  He can't easily install eggs into an arbitrary directory.
>  Setuptools yells at him loudly when he tries.  .pth files work only in
> magical directories.  easy_install.pth makes it impossible to use GNU stow.
>  site.py should just just look for .eggs in all directories on sys.path.
> David 2.  entry_points doesn't work when the svn checkout is just in
> PYTHONPATH or ".", and fails if there is a non-existent directory on his
> The second hacker, Nathan, said:
> Nathan 1: You cannot easily install in a non-standard location like
> /usr/local/stow/$pkg_name.
> Nathan 2: You cannot uninstall.
> Both David's and Nathan's first desire would be somewhat improved by my
> patch http://bugs.python.org/setuptools/issue54 (be more like distutils with
> regard to --prefix=).  Both of them would be *more* improved by my proposed
> extension to the standard Python import mechanism: "how to easily consume
> just the parts of eggs that are good for you" [1] (which is exactly what
> David suggested, except he suggested site.py do that instead of python
> importer doing it).
> David's second problem I don't understand.  Perhaps it is a bug in
> setuptools?
> Nathan's second problem -- you can't uninstall -- is widely known.  Note
> that using GNU stow is one excellent solution to this problem, so perhaps if
> the first problem were solved then we would have another tool against the
> second.  Also, most users of setuptools don't seem to realize that they can
> uninstall almost everything (everything except scripts) simply by removing
> the .egg.
> I see that PJE has replied to http://bugs.python.org/setuptools/issue54 .
>  I'll follow-up on that ticket.
> Regards,
> Zooko
> [1] http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2008-March/078243.html
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Tarek Ziadé - Directeur Technique
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