[Distutils] [Catalog-sig] packaging terminology confusion

M.-A. Lemburg mal at egenix.com
Thu Jan 7 23:12:47 CET 2010

Brad Allen wrote:
> On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 3:51 PM, M.-A. Lemburg <mal at egenix.com> wrote:
>> I don't think we need to change anything - most Python software
>> components come as Python packages nowadays, so the terminology
>> 'package' we've used all these years is correct.
> Do you mean only 'package' in the sense of an __init__.py container,
> or in the sense of a setup.py container? Both usages have been in use
> for years, but only the __init__.py package was formally recognized.

We have used the term 'package' for both a Python
software component as well as the Python module directories on
sys.path with a __init__.py marker.

I usually refer to the latter as 'Python package' and the former
as 'package'.

What you download is a 'distribution file' which could be an exe,
a tarball, an egg, etc. There are many forms such a package
distribution can take and just as many ways to install them.

Once installed a 'package' usually creates a single 'Python package'
(at top-level or some lower level).

As a result, after installation there is little difference between
a Python software component called 'package' and the module
directory called 'Python package'. qed :-)

Marc-Andre Lemburg

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