[Distutils] People want CPAN :-)

David Lyon david.lyon at preisshare.net
Wed Nov 11 12:20:09 CET 2009

On Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:14:42 +1300, Greg Ewing
<greg.ewing at canterbury.ac.nz>

> Also, it seems to me that in this case, the basic
> architecture of distutils is already so full of
> mistakes that there just isn't an incremental way
> of getting to a better place, especially given the
> requirement of not breaking any existing setup.py
> scripts together with the fact that the API of distutils
> effectively consists of its *entire implementation*.
> So while complete rewrites are best avoided *if possible*,
> I don't think we have a choice in this case.

Fwiw, I can't see any way to make that work.

Even if I said that I didn't like distutils, which btw isn't
true because my knowledge of it is so limited, it's just
not practical to rewrite such a complex tool within any
reasonable timeframe.

Anyway, moving towards CPAN isn't about rewriting all of
distutils, only a few key parts. Or restructuring.

The parts that shouldn't be rewritten (because the people
that wrote it were too clever - and the degree of difficulty
to high) is any C interface. That's an important part of
distutils that is likely to end up worse rather than better.

If there are candidates for 'evolution', it has to be in
the areas such as package creation (collecting all the
files and putting them in a .tar.gz or .egg or .zip
or .exe) for upload to pypi.

In CPAN, one wouldn't dream of there being so many 

As I've said on python-dev, we should just revise and
call a package an egg. In science, it wouldn't be tolerated
to call a hydrogen atom using 6 different synonyms. But
in python we do.

Then we wonder why people get confused...

There's a big difference between a rewrite and an
evolution. Rewrite isn't viable, but an evolution is.

>From science, we even know that it only takes two
generations to become nearly immune from strong radiation
as shown in chernoble. So when we talk about evolution
lets use it in the modern sense, not in the darwinian.

Evolution is better than revolution is better than nothing
happening at all.


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