[Distutils] RFC: Binary Distribution Format for distutils2/packaging

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Wed Mar 14 17:17:26 CET 2012

On 14 March 2012 15:43, Jim Fulton <jim at zope.com> wrote:
> My main issue is that I think we need a standard binary format that
> isn't system dependent.

I didn't intend bdist_simple to be platform-specific. It's based on
bdist_wininst certainly, but I stripped out all the platform-specific
bits (the embedding in the executable). The resulting format is simply
a zip file with separate directories for each of the sysconfig target

> I see the wininst format as sort of a two-edged sword for libraries.
> On the one hand, it makes installing libraries natural for Windows
> users, on the other, it encourages poor hygiene.

Not sure what you mean by "poor hygiene", but if you mean "installing
everything into the system Python" then I agree, and that's why I want
something like virtualenv to have support for some binary format (via
pip, packaging, or whatever).

> You raise an interesting point in the last link.
> It's reasonable to argue that this is only a windows problem.

I'm a Windows-only user, so I only have experience of that platform,
and it definitely is an issue there. When I stated on python-dev that
binary distributions seemed to be only an issue on Windows, a number
of Unix users (Nick Coghlan in particular, IIRC) argued that Unix
users would also benefit from binary packages. So I tried to design
something platform-neutral, although it needs a non-Windows user to
take a look and confirm whether or not there are platform dependencies
I missed.

> It could be argued that, on other platforms:
> - Consumers of applications should get application installers,
>  possibly with embedded copies of Python.

>From my experience, that happens more often on Windows than elsewhere
(py2exe/cx_Freeze). I didn't think Unix people did that.

> - Consumers of libraries are developers who should be able
>  to install development tools.

That was Nick's point, that sometimes even on Unix dependencies can be
hard to install or complex to build, so there is value in binary
distributions in those cases.

> I find the notion that we only need a binary format for Windows
> unsatisfying and unsettling, but if everyone else feels that way,
> I can live with it.

So do I - but as you say, I can live with it (as long as "Windows
only" doesn't end up translating into "not worth bothering about"...)


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