[Distutils] buildout in offline mode - install receipts also from cache?

Philippe Ombredanne pombredanne at nexb.com
Sun Jan 13 01:11:39 CET 2013

On Mon Dec 17 15:35:47 CET 2012, Anton Koval' psihonavt at gmail.com wrote:
> in our project we've decided to completely move
> buildout process to offline mode.
> according to documentation
> (http://pypi.python.org/pypi/zc.buildout/2.0.0a5)
> I made updates in our main buildout configuration file, like:
> download-cache = ...
> install-from-cache = true
> offline = true
> But when buildout tries to install any part with recipe specified,
> it is (obviously) failing, e.g.:
> Error: Couldn't find a distribution for 'iw.recipe.cmd'.
> So, my question is: are there ways to fetch recipes also from
> some cache (or whatever) on local disk?

I have experienced the same issue
See https://github.com/buildout/buildout/issues/41
This is a bug and also per Jim Fulton a lack of specification/documentation
of what offline really means.

IMHO it is not possible today to bootstrap and buildout offline. Anyone
with a better story there?

That said the fixes are rather easy ... And I have an ugly but nicely
working monkey patching extension that I will publish on pypi in a couple
days... Which ironically enough needs to be installed with pip before a

Now Jim suggested I should bring the discussion here.

In general installing packages without a network connection should be
straight forward, simple and easy. That would be the common understanding
of what offline means.

It works fine with setuptools/distribute and pip albeit a tad circumvoluted
and under documented.

It does not with buildout and fails because with the offline flag/config,
buildout calls its install function with a None dest argument making
setuptools/distribute fail downstream with a weird exception as you

This affects all current and recent versions of buildout.

Philippe Ombredanne
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