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

P.J. Eby pje at telecommunity.com
Mon Oct 5 20:21:28 CEST 2009

At 06:53 PM 10/5/2009 +0200, Lennart Regebro wrote:
>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.

In this case, though, the "Python core developer" is also the 
Distribute lead.  (i.e., it was Tarek who made the changes to the 
distutils.)  So it's a bit understandable that some people might 
wonder if there was a conflict of interest.

I don't personally think that's the case; it's pretty much inevitable 
that the distutils making progress means other things will 
break.  But it's easy to see how others might take the situation 
another way, or treat it as an example of Distribute policy towards 
backward compatibility, or of what kind of breakage is considered 
acceptable in a dot release.

It would be good to bear in mind that extending the distutils (or 
setuptools) is *not* monkeypatching; both libraries provide explicit 
assurance that subclassing is in fact allowed.  And there's nothing 
all that special about setuptools' subclassing of build_ext; in fact, 
if you look back in the archives here, other people have done 
equivalent subclassing to support dynamic library building.  I 
haven't checked their code, but there is a strong possibility that it 
would also fail in the same way.  This is not really about 
monkeypatching, or about special support for setuptools.

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