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

Ronald Oussoren ronaldoussoren at mac.com
Tue Oct 6 08:00:22 CEST 2009

On 5 Oct, 2009, at 13:54, Tarek Ziadé wrote:

> On Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 1:30 PM, Ronald Oussoren <ronaldoussoren at mac.com 
> > wrote:
>>> Nobody will adopt it until they are forced to. This unfortunate bug
>>> means people are forced to quicker than expected. I don't think  
>>> that's
>>> an actual problem.
>> This is a problem, it means 2.6.3 is not a simple drop-in  
>> replacement for 2.6.2 but requires the replacement of another  
>> component as well.  That can be a problem in organizations with  
>> strict configuration management where you cannot install new  
>> software without going to lots of red tape (and that might involve  
>> lawyers when you install a new package instead of upgrading an  
>> existing one).
> What is your solution ? Setuptools is not part of the standard library
> and monkey-patch Distutils.
> Its development has been discontinued for over a year.

I don't have a real solution, beyond documentation.  IMHO the issue  
should have been documented in the 2.6.3 release notes, which assumes  
that the issue was know before the release.

> Everytime Distutils is changed for anything, wether it's a bug fix or
> not, Setuptools can be broken.
> Now I realize that some folks wants Distutils to be aware of that and
> be backward-compatible with
> Setuptools monkey-patches ?

I'd prefer if distutils didn't break setuptools in the 2.6 branch,  
breaking it in 2.7 is fine because setuptools hooks into distutils at  
a very low level and is therefore sensitive too changes in  
implementation details of distutils.

And if breaking setuptools in the 2.6 branch is unavoidable this  
should be noted in Python's release notes. Whether we like it or not  
setuptools, and easy_install in particular, is used a lot and not only  
by power users.

Anyway, the issue is less relevant at the moment the NEWS file in the  
2.6 branch says that a fix for the setuptools breakage will be in  
2.6.4 when that's released.

> Like for the svn 1.6 compat problem we had earlier this year,
> this problem is a few line changes in Setuptools, it's an 1 hour work.
> If your company upgrades to Python 2.6.3 it can also upgrade to an
> hypothetical Setuptools 0.6c..10 ?

Sure, but 0.6c10 is only hypothetical at the moment.

BTW. This doesn't mean that I don't appreciate distribute, I'm  
switching to that in the near future because there is real progress in  
distribute and it has support for py3k.


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