[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

David Lyon david.lyon at preisshare.net
Fri Nov 6 23:52:55 CET 2009

On Fri, 6 Nov 2009 09:53:44 -0800, Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org>
> 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). 

Hi Guido,

I'm a mere application developer - developing things for companies as 
they require. Sometimes in perl more often in python. 

I've worked in Perl with CPAN and yes I can attest to how good CPAN is
to the application developer. Anything you need is there. It's easy to
pull down stuff and load it in.

CPan have an 'over-the-top' philosophy towards developers. It works.

> Is the work on distutils-sig going to be enough? 

It's not on the roadmap circulated thus far - but to answer the 
question probably not.

At the moment, we don't have our target set towards working towards

CPAN actually does so much, things that we could do, but are not.

For example, if Fred the developer makes a package 'microscope-
calibrate', and uploads, it will get tested and analysed on
CPAN with a buildbot. We don't do that yet.

So the packages on CPAN are typically of a higher quality, simply
because they've been machine checked. I like that.

Then, one the client machine, packages are so easy to install.

We don't have anything quite like that with Python yet but PJE
did get us one third of the way with setuptools. The skills to
get totally up with CPAN in this regard are there collectively 
with us now. Not in any one individual, but as a group. No one
individual can do it - but one individual can say - 'make it so'

> Or do we need some other kind of work in addition? Do we need
> more than PyPI?

Yes we do.

The Perl/CPAN developer experience is so smooth.

May I say that the current pypi website is 100% as good as
cpan. As a developer, I can't find any significant fault with
pypi. Apart from not having a buildbot running in the background
for package smoke testing. 

It's just when a developer goes to download and install a
package that things get complicated with python.

In an ideal world, a developer would just like to get eggs
or packages off pypi, install them and go back to work. It
would be fantastic for us to forget about what platform we
have and forget about what python version we have. CPAN
does that.

The totally best thing would be to see a package on pypi,
click on it and have it installed automatically there and

The technical framework to do all this exists or is in
close to working order. Some things need doing but I would
regard the work as bridging rather than doing things from

To me, the things Tarek is doing seem pretty sound and

We just need to have a 'developer experience' program
or something along those lines to connect the dots and
make things run more smoothly.

Then having something as good as CPAN is totally realistic.


More information about the Distutils-SIG mailing list