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

Tres Seaver tseaver at palladion.com
Wed Oct 7 05:36:09 CEST 2009

Hash: SHA1

Lennart Regebro wrote:
> 2009/10/5 Jeff Rush <jeff at taupro.com>:
>> Very unfortunate, as in, it should NOT have happened.  And *especially*
>> without any announcement on python.org or mention on the
>> python-committers list of something this major.
> Well "this major"... It's a bug fix that breaks a setuptools monkey-patch.
> But yes, it was discovered before release, and maybe it should have
> been discussed, I'm not on python-dev anymore.

The fact that the bugfix (to distutils) was committed by folks who are
*alos* pusing a fork to setuptools is what raises the eyebrows here.
Note that I am *not* suggesting that anyone acted in bad faith;  but the
"appearance of impropriety" can be present where no actual impropriety
exists.  The only cure is for the "conflicted" parties to take extreme
measures to avoid appearing to act improperly.

>> and even hints of
>> under-the-table intentionality in forcing the community to abandon use
>> of setuptools.
> There are no such hints anywhere.

There are those postig on this thread that the distutils breakage is a
good thing for Distribute, because it *forces* folks to switch:  I call
that a solid hint, myself.

>>  Distribute should win because of superior technology not
>> forced migration.
> That makes no sense. You move to distribute because you have to,
> because setuptools is buggy and not updated.  Until people encounter
> bugs in setuptools, or need Python 3 support, they are not likely to
> move to Distribute. There is no other reason than forced migration.

But you shouldn't have to move to Distribute becuase the Distrubute
developers broke setuptools by changing the Python stdlib (intentionally
or not).


> I fail to see how this is a big disaster in any way. Yes, it's not
> perfect, and yeah, maybe there should have been big warning signs
> somewhere. But we can NOT leave bugs in Python just because setuptools
> isn't getting updated. Setuptools has already been a break on Python 3
> development, are we gonna lets it be a break on Python 2 bugfixes too?

Bugfixes which break backward compatibility in "minor" relaseses are
"major" fouls, period.  As PJE points out, the particular bugfix in
question *also* broke other packages (pywin32), which means that it
can't be just that setuptools is "unmaintained" (I'm not supposed to
have to re-relase my packages to cope with a patch-level release in
Python, period).

- --
Tres Seaver          +1 540-429-0999          tseaver at palladion.com
Palladion Software   "Excellence by Design"    http://palladion.com
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