[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

Kaelin Colclasure kaelin at acm.org
Sat Nov 7 00:02:30 CET 2009

On Nov 6, 2009, at 2:14 PM, Alex Grönholm 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?

As both a CPAN contributor and a recent PyPI contributor I think I can  
speak to this:

When I packaged my first Perl module for CPAN distribution, there was  
no question about how to go about it. There was a clear recipe and it  
worked without a hitch the first time I tried.

When I recently packaged my first Python module for PyPI I was a bit  
dismayed to learn that easy_install is just one of several ways to  
disseminate Python code. The documentation is fragmented... The stuff  
I read on easy_install basically assumed you already knew all about  
distutils, and I eventually had to reorganize my code from a simple  
module to a package just to get a few non-code files to be pulled in  
by the install. A less persistent would-be contributor might have  
given up in frustration.

I joined this mailing list instead, and got my package working with  
some kind assistance. :-) But CPAN was just easier to contribute to.

-- Kaelin

>> Posted by dalloliogm to Neopythonic at November 6, 2009 8:01 AM
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