[Distutils] Package install failures in 2.6.3 - setuptools vs Distribute

Lennart Regebro regebro at gmail.com
Mon Oct 5 18:53:24 CEST 2009

2009/10/5 Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn <zooko at zooko.com>:
> I'm sorry to say that this event has already made me more hesitant to jump
> from setuptools to Distribute, just because some of the maintainers of
> Distribute have posted saying that they don't think this kind of thing is
> such a big deal.  I prefer to use packaging tools which are stable.

You completely misunderstand. It's not that it isn't a big deal that
setuptools isn't maintained. It *is* a big deal. But that you are
forced to upgrade *now* is not a big deal, because you would be forced
to upgrade soon any way. What you seem to miss in this whole
discussion is that setuptools is buggy, and unmaintained, and that you
will have to move from setuptools sooner or later.

That setuptools is broken *is* a big deal. That is an effect of the
current situation, and as you know that is a situation only one person
can do anything about.

BUT: It is *not* a big deal that this breakage affects you today,
instead of in six months.

I understand that maybe for you, of there had been more warnings, you
could have had time to move to Distribute, and thereby move to 2.6.3
already now, instead of having to wait a bit. But then again, you are
not only in a very special and unusual situation, you already use a
patched version of setuptools (presumably because of it's unmaintaned
state) and you can therefore easily apply this patch to your copy, and
therefore be up and running again.

For everyone else, who does not have the strict rules you do, the fix
is easy. All they need to do is "easy_install Distribut" and it will
work again. That is *not* a big deal.

That bugs in setuptools make you reluctant to migrate to Distribute is
a position I must admit I don't understand. Possibly if you somehow
think it's the Distribute teams fault that a bugfix in Python ended up
breaking setuptools. If it would have been better not to fix that bug,
then the blame reasonably goes to the Python core developers, not the
Distribute team.

Once again, to make things completely clear: The breakage *is* a big
deal. That it happens to break today instead of tomorrow is not.

Lennart Regebro: Python, Zope, Plone, Grok
+33 661 58 14 64

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