[Distutils] Improving distutils vs redesigning it (was people want CPAN)

Tarek Ziadé ziade.tarek at gmail.com
Thu Nov 12 01:48:40 CET 2009

On Thu, Nov 12, 2009 at 1:08 AM, Robert Kern <robert.kern at gmail.com> wrote:
>> - you are convinced that distutils should be written from scratch. I
>> am not for many reasons. Some others are not either.
>>   it won't happen. the only thing that could make it happen is the
>> replacement of distutils by another tool that
>>   is used by the majority of the community for several years.
> That's basically what David is suggesting when he says "rewrite". He doesn't
> mean to replace distutils with another package named "distutils".

Well, good luck with that new project then. I am here to improve the
existing Distutils.

And that doesn't forbid us to do some redesign in it.

e.g. unlike this thread title implies, improvement of an existing
system is not opposed to its partial redesign
so it answers to some use cases it was not working well with before.

Now the partial redesign of the build_ext/Extension part is something
we can work on together.

The problem of command extensibility is also a topic we have been
discussed last year at Pycon,
and if you read the wiki you'll see that I have proposed some changes
so any command
could be extended in a pluggable way.

But this has to be added as new features, on the top of something that
already works.

You have to consider the PoV of many, many developers that happily use
Distutils every day.
They don't care about the edge cases we are discussing right now. They
wouldn't mind having
some improvements that would solve some edge cases of course.

But they will not understand why Distutils is dropped in favor of a
tool we write from scratch, because
its design doesnt' work well when the FooBar compiler cannot get the
YuYu option at the right time.

And even if it happened, that would mean waiting for its maturity
outside the stdlib for some years.

I want to improve Distutils, but not for the price of a complete drop.
I don't think the edge cases we
are discussing worth it, and I still fail to see why we can't work
them out in the context of the existing

Now, maybe that's just because I didn't spent a decade on the monster
like you did. I have +6 more years to
go ;)


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