[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

Bob Ippolito bob at redivi.com
Fri Nov 6 23:56:51 CET 2009

On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 2:53 PM,  <exarkun at twistedmatrix.com> wrote:
> On 10:14 pm, alex.gronholm at nextday.fi wrote:
>> Guido van Rossum kirjoitti:
>>> I just found this comment on my blog. People have told me this in
>>> person too, so I believe it is real pain (even if the solution may be
>>> elusive and the suggested solutions may not work). But I don't know
>>> how to improve the world. Is the work on distutils-sig going to be
>>> enough? Or do we need some other kind of work in addition? Do we need
>>> more than PyPI?
>>> --Guido
>>> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
>>> From: dalloliogm <noreply-comment at blogger.com>
>>> Date: Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 8:01 AM
>>> Subject: [Neopythonic] New comment on Python in the Scientific World.
>>> To: gvanrossum at gmail.com
>>> dalloliogm has left a new comment on your post "Python in the Scientific
>>> World":
>>> Python is suffering a lot in the scientific word, because it has not a
>>> CPAN-like repository.
>>> PyPI is fine, but it is still far from the level of CPAN, CRAN,
>>> Bioconductor, etc..
>>> Scientists who use programming usually have a lot of different
>>> interests and approaches, therefore it is really difficult to write a
>>> package that can be useful to everyone.
>>> Other programming language like Perl and R have repository-like
>>> structure which enable people to download packages easily, and to
>>> upload new ones and organize them withouth having to worry about
>>> having to integrate them into existing packages.
>>> This is what is happening to biopython now: it is a monolitic package
>>> that it is supposed to work for any bioinformatic problem; but this is
>>> so general that to accomplish that you would need to add a lot of
>>> dependencies, to numpy, networkx, suds, any kind of library.
>>> However, since easy_install is not as ready yet as the counterparts in
>>> other languages, if the biopython developers add too many
>>> dependencies, nobody will be able to install it properly, and nobody
>>> will use it.
>> I for one did not understand the problem. What does CPAN have that PyPI
>> doesn't?
>> It is natural for packages (distributions, in distutils terms) to have
>> dependencies on each other. Why is this a problem?
> I'm also not sure I see what problem CPAN is solving that PyPI is failing
> at.  At most, it sounds like the OP is complaining that the software
> available to scientists in perl is better than the software available to
> scientists in python (for some definition of better - there's more of it, it
> solves their particular problems better, whatever).
> PyPI *does* let you download packages easily, it does let you upload new
> ones and organize them without having to worry about integrating them into
> existing packages.  So the features of CPAN that are described as desirable
> are already available in PyPI.

It might be the CPAN user interface that makes the difference. Using
CPAN you can search for and install applications from an interactive
prompt. No web browser needed, just one command line invocation (perl
-MCPAN -e shell).


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