[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

Floris Bruynooghe floris.bruynooghe at gmail.com
Sun Nov 8 20:19:44 CET 2009

On Sat, Nov 07, 2009 at 10:56:24AM -0500, David Lyon wrote:
> On Sat, 7 Nov 2009 16:08:46 +0100, Tarek Ziadé <ziade.tarek at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Gosh. I am not your boss, and I am not telling you what to do. 
> otoh you're the boss of distutils. So you can direct people to
> work on certain things to help you along. That would have kept
> me much quieter with work.

If you have time to burn and need to be told how to spend it: on top
of my head a useful contribution would be to improve the PEP 386
reference implementation for example (I pick that one as I know most
about it from all the PEP proposals currently).  This is a PEP that
should maybe be finished first of the bunch, so that's definitely
useful.  Useful things:

* Read up on the PEP and all the documentation in the reference

* Check out previous discussions and make sure nothing is missed.

* Add more test!  The core class could be tested better, and
  suggest_rational_version is massively undertested.  For this you
  need to read up on the old distutils version scheme as well as
  setuptools scheme and build lots of test cases for it.  Also looking
  at all versions on the cheesshop to figure out tricky version
  numbers and test the function.  All the "reasonable" version numbers
  used on PyPI should be tested really.

* Check the history of the implementation.  Maybe there have been
  checkins that correct things in one area but left similar bugs in
  other areas (e.g. a bug fixed in the class but not in
  suggest_rational_version).  If so add tests.

* If you managed to create tests that fail, see if you can figure out
  ways to make them pass.

* Improve the documentation of the reference implementation, after
  you've done many of the above things you'll definitely have found
  some places where it could be improved.

* Create patches out of the above work and submit it to the refrence
  implementation, if they're useful and good they'll get accepted.
  But don't be discouraged if a re-work is asked for initially.

I'm not telling you the above things because I want to be your (or
anyone's) boss and tell other people what to do.  I'm telling you them
as an example of how to contribute to the current work.  The important
thing is that I don't know anything more then you do, I haven't had
secret conversations with a cabal or so (I'm not even on IRC usually).
The only thing I do is read the mailing list and look at proposals I'm
interested in.  Finding and carrying out work like this is


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