[Distutils] Fwd: People want CPAN :-)

Wolodja Wentland wentland at cl.uni-heidelberg.de
Thu Nov 12 10:28:51 CET 2009

On Wed, Nov 11, 2009 at 16:22 +0000, Antonio Cavallo wrote:
> 1. I don't need a replacement for rpm/yast/yum/synaptic: they provide
> file tracking and package resolution/dependency already and
>    pepole are using them (and it has been for a very long time)

I think that the ongoing discussion about Python packaging should focus
on the needs of the users. I made a proposal that might ease basic
packaging tasks for *nix package maintainers and think it would be a
great time to contact the following groups of users and encourage them
to provide some feedback on their needs:

* Python developers
  - How can distributions be queried? 
  - How is access to shipped data handled? 
  - What are common patterns/workarounds they use in their setup.py that
    should be automated/made easier?

* Distribution package maintainers

  - Should a distutils packaged provide more Metadata about the files that
    are shipped? 
  - What would help in the packaging process?

* Python users

  - Should PEP 370 compliant installation become the default? (--user the
  - What is missing from virtualenv? (like easy creation of a
    virtualenv and automatically installing distribution according to a
    pip reqirements file) 
  - Would users like PyPi to be stricter in what it
    accepts (i.e. automatic testing and rejection of distributions of bad

I think that some of these questions are already answered in the PEPs
that are under consideration right now. I would *strongly* suggest to
get them into shape before any discussion on CPAN and that is started
and binds a lot of resources.

I like the aproach taken by Vinay Sajip with PEP 391. He (and others?)
worked on them until they were deemed to be of sufficient quality.
Afterwards he asked python-dev for input, incorporated these changes and
then asked the whole Python community on python-list. I happily provided
input and got them incorporated into the PEP. THAT was a great user
experience and a big advantage of open (source) communities.

I would therefore suggest to:

1. Get the PEPs into shape
2. Contact the people and spread the word that *now* is the time to
   provide input that influences the way Python packaging will be done
   for some time to come.
3. Collect input on some Wiki/document/whatever and discuss the issues
   and solutions.
4. Change the PEPs to incorporate the solutions.
5. Goto 2 if necessary
6. Design the distutils/distribute/virtualenv/pip API to reflect this
7. Implement the changes.

I will ask on some distribution specific MLs (like debian-python) what
they might need, once we singled out some ideas that look promising.

  .''`.     Wolodja Wentland    <wentland at cl.uni-heidelberg.de> 
 : :'  :    
 `. `'`     4096R/CAF14EFC 
   `-       081C B7CD FF04 2BA9 94EA  36B2 8B7F 7D30 CAF1 4EFC
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