[Distutils] Binary dependency management, round 2 :)

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Fri Dec 6 18:44:10 CET 2013

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 6:22 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:

> >> I created a draft of this new section at
>  >>
> https://bitbucket.org/pypa/python-packaging-user-guide/pull-request/12/recommendations-for-numpy-et-al/diff

looks good, thanks!

ONe note:

In particular, bootstrapping conda via ``pip install conda`` and then
running the ``conda init`` command provides access to all of the pre-built
binaries that Continuum Analytics have created for the free version of
the Anaconda distribution.

I've been chatting off list with Travis, and while it does appear that
Anaconda is more compatibly with the python.org installers than I had
thought, there are still some pretty significant "rough edges",
particularly with the OS-X build. But it does look pretty promising.

Travis pointed out that I had been pretty critical of endorsing conda in
this thread. He is right. That came from two things:

1) years of frustration with the mess of python packaging, that I thought
we were finally resolving with binary wheels.

2) recent bad experience with Anaconda and teaching python to newbies.

I'm pretty sure we all want  "one way to do it" -- i.e. we can just tell
people to install a python.org build, then  use pip install to
get everything else, than may simply not be practical, and apparently we're
not as close as I thought.

But as I think back over the last few years, I realize that I've been
recommending the python.org binaries across the board, because it is the
basis of a number of different package approaches. So I can tell my

 - try pip  install

 - if that doesn't work, look in the Gohlke repo

 - if that doesn't work, look for a binary on the package web page.

 - if that doesn't work, follow the build instructions on the package web

And while it would be great if pip install always worked, this really isn't
so bad, and it's not so bad because, in fact, most of the maintainers of
complex packages have been targeting python.org binaries for years.

So if we can't have wheels for everything, we can do pretty well if the
other options (e.g. conda)  are python.org compatible. That's not quite the
case for Anaconda now, but it's not that far off, and Travis is
interested in making it better.

I'm not going to have time to poke at this myself for at least a few weeks,
but at some point, maybe we can, for instance, try to convert the wxPython
binaries to a conda package, or just figure out a post-install hack that
will let it work with Anaconda (the current wxPython binaries for OS-X
already have *.pth file magic to let both the python.org and Apple binaries
use the same package).

So nice work all -- it seem this is not getting as ugly as I feared.



Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
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