[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

Kevin Teague kevin at bud.ca
Sun Nov 8 00:18:12 CET 2009

One other really nice thing about the Perl packaging ecosystem is that  
their standard library is packaged!

If there is a bug found in the Perl standard library, it's trivial to  
upgrade it to a newer release with a bug fix. For example, the recent  
little distutils snafu would have been a lot less painful for the end  
user's if we'd been able to get the bug fix with a simple:

  $ pip install --upgrade distutils

In this respect, from an end user perspective, it really feels like  
you're getting hit with a stick, "Need that distutils fix? Hmm, well,  
OK, but you're going to have wait another month until we do a full  
Python release, and then accept all these other unrelated changes if  
you want that ... "

CPAN even informs you if there's a newer release of itself available,  
and suggests you might like to upgrade:

   There's a new CPAN.pm version (v1.9402) available!
   [Current version is v1.7602]
   You might want to try
     install Bundle::CPAN
     reload cpan
   without quitting the current session. It should be a seamless upgrade
   while we are running...

Buildout has a similar upgrade notification feature, but I don't think  
pip or easy_install does? One nice thing about setuptools (or now  
distribute) not having been merged into the standard library is that  
they're easy to update to newer releases. As we push more of this code  
down into Distutils, we are making it more difficult to get updates :(

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