[Distutils] setuptools vs distribute on Debian

Tres Seaver tseaver at palladion.com
Thu Nov 18 17:08:45 CET 2010

Hash: SHA1

On 11/18/2010 10:51 AM, Manlio Perillo wrote:
> No, this is not a flame.
> I'm on Debian Squeeze and I noticed this strange thing:
> $sudo easy_install -U setuptools
> install_dir /usr/local/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/
> Searching for distribute
> Reading http://pypi.python.org/simple/distribute/
> Reading http://packages.python.org/distribute
> Best match: distribute 0.6.14
> Processing distribute-0.6.14-py2.6.egg
> distribute 0.6.14 is already the active version in easy-install.pth
> Installing easy_install script to /usr/local/bin
> Installing easy_install-2.6 script to /usr/local/bin
> Using /usr/local/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/distribute-0.6.14-py2.6.egg
> Processing dependencies for distribute
> Finished processing dependencies for distribute
> Now, I read that this is a Debian policy: for some reasons they force me
> to use distribute instead setuptools.
> However, I *do* want to use setuptools, and I'm unable to do what I want.
> I checked the "fake" setuptools source code but I can't see what I need
> to modify in order to get setuptools when I ask for setuptools.

If you use the OS tools to install from the OS repositories, you are
pretty much forced to live with any of their non-optional policy
choices.  Alternatives would be to go "outside the box" in one way or

- - Install an existing .deb file which somebody else who agrees with you
  has built.

- - Build and install such a .deb file yourself, e.g. via 'apt-get source
  setuptools' and then hack on the build files.

- - Install setuptools into the system Python manually (probably a Really
  Bad Idea).

- - Install and use 'virtualenv' to get an environment insulated from
  the system Python.  'virtualenv' still uses the "real" setuptools by

- - Install Python and setuptools from source.

I prefer the last option, myself, as I know better than the OS packagers
do about how to configure and build Python and related stuff for my
applications, just as they know better how to build it to support other
system packages.

- -- 
Tres Seaver          +1 540-429-0999          tseaver at palladion.com
Palladion Software   "Excellence by Design"    http://palladion.com
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