[Distutils] [Catalog-sig] packaging terminology confusion

Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn zooko at zooko.com
Mon Jan 11 18:08:43 CET 2010

On Thursday, 2010-01-07, at 20:43 , John Gabriele wrote:

> So, here's a suggestion: just call both things (packages and  
> distributions) "packages", but then agree to fully qualify the  
> names when you need to avoid ambiguity, for example: "I just built  
> a distribution-package (or "dist-package" for short) and included  
> numerous module-packages in it."


Thank you.

Your proposal has the advantage that it is what most users are  
already doing and will continue to do whether we like it or not.  :-)

> 3. People don't like calling those MyProject-1.0.2.tgz thingies  
> "distributions". They keep calling them packages, and when you  
> correct them, they say, "[sigh], fine. [eyes roll] 'distribution'."

Indeed, for most of the people I talk to (most of whom are not core  
committers to the Python project), I say "You want such-and-such a  
tool?  Please download the such-and-such package. See http:// 
pypi.python.org .", and they say "Ok".  If I say "Please download the  
such-and-such distribution." they say "Huh?".

This is a point that perhaps needs to be repeated.  We as distutils- 
sig don't have the option of educating all Python users about our  
peculiar terminology.  Maybe ten years ago, but today there are too  
many of them.  We have the option of either carrying on status quo  
with recurring confusion and clarification, or adopting the  
terminology that people already expect.



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