[Distutils] Builders vs Installers

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Mon Mar 25 22:08:59 CET 2013

There's a longer-term issue that occurred to me when thinking about
pip's role as a "builder" or an "installer" (to use Nick's

As I understand Nick's vision for the future, installers (like pip)
will locate built wheels and download and install them, and builders
(like distutils and bento) will be responsible for building wheels.
But there's an intermediate role which shouldn't get forgotten in the
transition - the role that pip currently handles with the "pip wheel"
command. This is where I specify a list of distributions, and pip
locates sdists, downloads them, checks dependencies, and ultimately
builds all of the wheels. I'm not sure whether the current idea of
builders includes this "locate, download and resolve dependencies"
function (distutils and bento certainly don't have that capability).

I imagine that pip will retain some form of the current "pip wheel"
capability that covers this requirement, but maybe as the overall
picture of the new design gets clarified, this role should be


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