[Distutils] pip on windows: life without eggs ok?

Carl Meyer carl at oddbird.net
Tue Apr 17 00:17:38 CEST 2012

On 04/16/2012 03:56 PM, Paul Moore wrote:
> On 16 April 2012 20:08, Carl Meyer <carl at oddbird.net> wrote:
>> Support for installing binary packages on Windows has been a "patches
>> welcome" situation for as long as I've used pip (3-4 years?) - all
>> that's lacking is someone motivated to provide a good patch :-)
> Speaking as someone who's looked at this, the problem seems to me to
> be that pip has a *lot* of baked in assumptions that it's working with
> source distributions, and it's very hard to see how to fit a binary
> install mechanism in place. It would be (relatively) easier to add a
> new "pip bininstall" subcommand, but once you start looking at that,
> it's not easy to see what it gives you over "easy_install".

I'm happy to consult with anyone working on this. I think this
particular framing conflates UI issues (what is the command named?) with
internal code structure unnecessarily. It's true that much of pip's code
is for working with sdists and support for installing binary packages
would require some significant new and separate code paths internally
(in InstallRequirement and, to a lesser extent, PackageFinder), but the
actual user-facing commands (e.g. InstallCommand) are a relatively small
part of the code; I don't think adding a separate command would actually
save much work over extending the "install" command. But I could be
wrong - were there specific issues that you saw as problematic for
adding support to "install"?

> Personally, I'm waiting to see where the Python 3.3 "packaging"
> solution fits into all this - as I understand it, it currently hits
> the same spot as pip (source-install only) but it's less mature. It
> may be that it will be easier to integrate binary installers into the
> packaging infrastructure but there's still a lot of debate and no real
> code in this area (I produced a patch, but it foundered over debates
> about whether the binary format I proposed was "the right way" to do
> it).
> I'd love to see a group of people getting together to really work
> through the options for binary installers that work with
> pip/virtualenv/packaging, but the support seems pretty fragmented, and
> the fact that eggs are a "good enough" solution tends to stall any
> casual efforts in this direction.

Agreed that focusing on support in d2/packaging is probably a better use
of time for the long term. I'm hopeful that at some point pip can lose a
lot of code and become a much thinner wrapper around d2/packaging, with
added support for things like installing direct from VCS, requirements
files, etc.


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