[Distutils] Eggs vs bdist_wininst (Was: Distutils and Distribute roadmap (and some words on Virtualenv, Pip))

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 00:11:54 CEST 2009

2009/10/11 Tarek Ziadé <ziade.tarek at gmail.com>:
> On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 10:45 PM, Ian Bicking <ianb at colorstudy.com> wrote:
>> On Sun, Oct 11, 2009 at 3:39 PM, Tarek Ziadé <ziade.tarek at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> So why is there a need for an egg binary format on Windows?
>>> I think the only extra specific feature bdist_egg provides is the
>>> ability to use the self-contained
>>> egg (zipped or not) directly in sys.path without having to install it
>>> in a site-packages like directory.
>>> That's how zc.buildout works for example to isolate an execution
>>> environment : it collects eggs in a directory called 'eggs', then
>>> creates scripts with a modified sys.path that lists the paths of each
>>> egg located in 'eggs'.
>> That's a feature of the installed (multi-version) egg, not the
>> distribution format.  That feature can be kept (or discussed, or
>> whatever) separately from the discussion of bdist_egg as a
>> distribution format.
> The bdist_egg distribution format, an 'egg', can be used directly in a
> Python interpreter
> without having to install it at all :
> $ wget http://pypi.python.org/packages/2.6/W/Wally/Wally-0.6.4-py2.6.egg
> $ python
>>>> import sys
>>>> sys.path.insert(0, 'Wally-0.6.4-py2.6.egg')
>>>> import wally
>>>> wally
> <module 'wally' from 'Wally-0.6.4-py2.6.egg/wally/__init__.py'>

OK, that's a fair point. But how many people actually use this functionality?

More to the point, how many *windows* users use this functionality (as
bdist_wininst isn't an alternative for non-windows users anyway)?

And to restrict it even further, how many windows users use it for
*binary* distributions (ie, using C code) as packaging non-C code from
source is trivial)?

Unfortunately, it's a social rather than a technical issue, but it
would be really good if some way could be found to reverse the current
trend away from a single distribution format.


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