[Distutils] Distribute comments

Tarek Ziadé ziade.tarek at gmail.com
Tue Jan 4 16:13:13 CET 2011

On Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 8:42 PM, K. Richard Pixley <rich at noir.com> wrote:
> I've just read through the Distribute doc for the first time and I have a
> few comments.
> First, I just want to say that the state of python packaging is a sad
> morass.  It's not easy for someone to sort out
> distutils/setuptools/distribute to figure out how to get a package built and
> released on pypi.  Distutils is official and available, but the
> documentation is only slightly relevant with much time and space given to
> features that aren't clear, aren't relevant, or don't solve today's
> problems.  Setuptools is messy, confusing, ill documented, and difficult to
> use.  The Distribute documentation helps in this considerably but it could
> be better.

The Distribute documentation is also taken from Setuptools, and
evolved a bit. But it still has probably some places that were not

>From a user point of view the major differences on the two projects are:

1. if Setuptools has a bug, it can be fixed in Distribute.
2. Distribute provides py3k compat and other features we needed, like
the easy_install --user option etc.
3. Distribute wants to provide a bridge for the upcoming Distutils2

So it's more a matter of "what installer do you need/want to install
?" -- on Ubuntu, Fedora, Gentoo and some other distros, Setuptools was
replaced by Distribute and this is transparent for you. On other
systems you can chose the one you want.

Note that the Distribute project is currently staled because most
people that work in it are now focusing on Distutils2. But if we hit
major bugs in Setuptools we will do new releases of Distribute. And it
welcomes contributions but lacks of reviewers + comitters right now.
It's easy to become one though, because the philosophy is to have more
people involved and to release it often.  By the way ,if someone want
to become the Distribute maintainer I'd be happy to pass it over while
focusing on Distutils2.

The Distutils2 project is actively developed and will be pushed back
in the stdlib sometimes after 3.2 final is out.

> The section on "What Your Users Should Know" sounds like the sort of
> information which has traditionally been released in an INSTALL file with
> GNU software.  Is there a reusable, sample template which explains this
> information in a package agnostic sort of way that I can simply include in
> my package?

No but the Guide pointed by Alan is where we wanted to provide this
kind of information.

Tarek Ziadé | http://ziade.org

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