[Distutils] Useless field (was Re: Finishing PEP 345)

Mark Sienkiewicz sienkiew at stsci.edu
Mon Jan 11 21:44:15 CET 2010

Martin v. Löwis wrote:
>> So, what is this field for?
> See the PEP:
> "Binary distributions containing a PKG-INFO file will use the
> Supported-Platform field in their metadata to specify the OS and CPU for
> which the binary distribution was compiled."
> Seems very clear to me.

The question "what it it for?" needs a better answer than that.  Who 
looks at this field?  What do they do with the data that it contains?  
When creating a record, how do I know the correct value to put in this 
field?  Can I just make up anything, like "Supported-Platform: my new 

>>  Can we give it a useful definition?
> Useful for what? To educate a human reader? I think it's useful as it
> stands. To make it machine processable? That will be very difficult to
> achieve.

Useful for me to understand why I should bother the fill in this field.  
Useful for me to understand why it is in the specification in the first 

You imply that this field is not intended to be machine processable.  
That means that:

- packaging tools will not look at it, because the tools don't know what 
it means

- database searches of available packages will not look at it, because 
the databases don't know what it means

In that case, it is as simple as adding "This field is intended only as 
a hint to a human reader about the build environment.  Because there is 
no specification for the content of this field, it does not make sense 
to do searches or comparisons on this field.  When writing a new record, 
put whatever descriptive text about the platform that you think might be 

If that is a correct description, then that description should go in the 

Mark S.

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