[Distutils] Setuptools-Distribute merge announcement

Jason R. Coombs jaraco at jaraco.com
Thu Mar 14 01:57:18 CET 2013

As PJE mentioned in his e-mail, he and I have been working on a merge of the
code lines of Setuptools and Distribute. I'm excited about this transition
and I hope you are too.


In this message, I will provide some answers based on questions that he and
I encountered in our discussions and subsequent merge activity. If you have
further questions, please direct them to both of us and we intend to answer
promptly and also update the FAQ at the wiki


- Jason R. Coombs


Where does the merge occur?


The merge is occurring between the heads of the default branch of Distribute
and the setuptools-0.6 branch of Setuptools. The Setuptools SVN repo has
been converted to a Mercurial repo hosted on Bitbucket. The work is still
underway, so the exact changesets included may change, although the
anticipated merge targets are Setuptools at 0.6c12 and Distribute at 0.6.35.


What happens to other branches?


Distribute 0.7 was abandoned long ago and won't be included in the resulting
code tree, but may be retained for posterity in the original repo.


Setuptools default branch (also 0.7 development) may also be abandoned or
may be incorporated into the new merged line if desirable (and as resources


What history is lost/changed?


As setuptools was not on Mercurial when the fork occurred and as Distribute
did not include the full setuptools history (prior to the creation of the
setuptools-0.6 branch), the two source trees were not compatible. In order
to most effectively communicate the code history, the Distribute code was
grafted onto the (originally private) setuptools Mercurial repo. Although
this grafting maintained the full code history with names, dates, and
changes, it did lose the original hashes of those changes. Therefore,
references to changes by hash (including tags) are lost.


Additionally, any heads that were not actively merged into the Distribute
0.6.35 release were also omitted. As a result, the changesets included in
the merge repo are those from the original setuptools repo and all
changesets ancestral to the Distribute 0.6.35 release.


What features will be in the merged code base?


In general, all "features" added in distribute will be included in
setuptools. Where there exist conflicts or undesirable features, we will be
explicit about what these limitations are. Changes that are
backward-incompatible from setuptools 0.6 to distribute will likely be
removed, and these also will be well documented.


Bootstrapping scripts (ez_setup/distribute_setup) and docs, as with
distribute, will be maintained in the repository and built as part of  the
release process. Documentation and bootstrapping scripts will be  hosted at
python.org, as they are with distribute now. Documentation at  telecommunity
will be updated to refer or redirect to the new, merged  docs.


On  the whole, the merged setuptools should be largely compatible with the
latest releases of both setuptools and distribute and will be an easy
transition for users of either library.


Who is invited to contribute? Who is excluded?


While we've worked privately  to initiate this merge due to the potential
sensitivity of the topic,  no one is excluded from this effort. We invite
all members of the  community, especially those most familiar with Python
packaging and its  challenges to join us in the effort.


We have lots of  ideas for how we'd like to improve the codebase, release
process,  everything.  Like distribute, the post-merge setuptools will have
its  source hosted on bitbucket.  (So if you're currently a distribute
contributor, about the only thing that's going to change is the URL of  the
repository you follow.)  Also like distribute, it'll support Python  3, and
hopefully we'll soon merge Vinay Sajip's patches to make it run  on Python 3
without needing 2to3 to be run on the code first.


Why Setuptools and not Distribute or another name?


We do understand that this announcement might be unsettling for some.  The
setuptools name has been subjected to a lot of deprecation in recent  years,
so the idea that it will now be the preferred name instead of distribute
might be somewhat difficult or disorienting for some.   We considered use of
another name (Distribute or an entirely new name),  but that would serve to
only complicate matters further. Instead, our goal is to simplify the
packaging landscape but without losing any hard-won advancements.  We hope
that the people who worked to spread the first message will be equally
enthusiastic about spreading the new one, and we especially look forward to
seeing the new posters and slogans celebrating the new setuptools.


What is the timeframe of release?


There are no hard timeframes for any of this effort, although progress is
underway and a draft merge is underway and being tested privately.   As an
unfunded volunteer effort, our time to put in on it is limited,  and we've
both had some recent health and other challenges that have  made working on
this difficult, which in part explains why we haven't met our original
deadline of a completed merge before PyCon.


What version number can I expect for the new release?


The new release will roughly follow the previous trend for setuptools and
release the new release as 0.7. This number is somewhat arbitrary, but we
wanted something other than 0.6 to distinguish it from its ancestor forks
but not 1.0 to avoid putting too much emphasis on the release itself and to
focus on merging the functionality. In the future, the project will likely
adopt a versioning scheme similar to semver to convey semantic meaning about
the release in the version number.



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