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

David Cournapeau david at ar.media.kyoto-u.ac.jp
Wed Oct 7 06:18:15 CEST 2009

Tres Seaver wrote:
> Bugfixes which break backward compatibility in "minor" relaseses are
> "major" fouls, period.

Sure, but what does backward compatibility even mean for distutils ? Not
much, as any non trivial extension needs to use undocumented
implementation details.

> 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" 

No, it is a consequence of distutils design and implementation. I think
those breakages are unavoidable if you touch distutils besides trivial
bug fixes (and the list of trivial things you can do to distutils
without breaking anything is tiny). I already had to adapt
numpy.distutils numerous times when distutils changed, so I don't think
it is fair to point this particular issue as a major foul.

It should be accepted that people relying on distutils internals (that
is almost anybody using distutils extensions, especially for compiled
code) will have to constantly change their code IMHO.



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