[Distutils] Distribute and setuptools: what are the differences

Michael Whapples mwhapples at aim.com
Tue Oct 13 13:16:31 CEST 2009

I realise I may be starting something I would prefer not to (looking at 
some of the replies of the announcement of setuptools 0.6c10), so I 
would like to ask that this tries to stay as a factual thing rather than 
a "having a go at the other".

As it seems that setuptools is not "dead" just possibly a bit slow at 
being updated, could I ask what are the aims of the various projects 
setuptools and distribute (please try and keep this information 
restricted to your project and what it aims to do)? It would be nice to 
have this information as at the moment its a bit unclear what either 
really are trying to offer over the other. I would like to be able to 
make a fully informed choice on why use one over the other, I feel at 
the moment this isn't possible.

I have to say from my view (as a developer of my own packages only using 
setuptools/distribute to help package my packages) that it currently 
looks a horrible mess, distribute tries to replace setuptools and does 
it in such a way that any package which specifically wants setuptools 
has to use distribute if another package wants it, so not allowing the 
one which specifically wants setuptools to get the latest setuptools 
(eg. now or soon it will be setuptools 0.6c10). It is tempting for me to 
use distutils and create my own custom code to give the features I 
currently really use from setuptools/distribute until this "mess" has 
been cleaned up. I know this idea of going a custom route doesn't really 
help things, but my main concern is my package and if no solution 
currently can satisfy me it is suitable then unfortunately custom 
solutions may be the best option for me (I won't support a mess).

Michael Whapples

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