[Distutils] A smaller step towards de-specializing setuptools/distutils

Leonardo Rochael Almeida leorochael at gmail.com
Thu Oct 29 17:43:48 EDT 2015

This is a nice idea.

It makes it easy to fix problematic `setup.py` files like this [1]:

from distutils.core import setup, Extension
import numpy

      sources=["cos_doubles.c", "cos_doubles.i"],

[1] Documented here

Just add a setup.cfg with `numpy` in the `setup_requires` key and done. No
more `ImportError: No module named numpy` on an empty virtualenv.

A small layer on top of this idea could also mean a fix to people/systems
who still do `setup.py install` (Debian current tooling was mentioned).

Just change the `setup.py` above to:

from setuptools import setup, Extension, pip_bootstrap
import numpy

      sources=["cos_doubles.c", "cos_doubles.i"],


The `pip_boostrap` function would:

 - Install pip as if it was a `setup_requires` (i.e., it gets dumped in the
local directory, or somewhere more hygienic, but not in `site-packages`),
maybe using `get-pip` so we can actually remove the `install` functionality
from setuptools in the future

 - run `pip bootstrap setup.cfg`, so that pip installs `numpy` and any
other setup_requires declared in setup.cfg (dumped in the local directory
like today or somewhere more hygienic, but placing them on sys.path)

 - proceed as usual

if `pip_bootstrap` was actually a (sufficiently magical) module instead of
a function, even the second line above could be omitted.



On 29 October 2015 at 15:31, Donald Stufft <donald at stufft.io> wrote:

> Hello!
> So I've been reading the various threads (well trying to, there's a lot
> going
> on in all of them) and I'm trying to reconile them all in my head and
> sorting
> out how things are going to look if we add them. I'm worried about adding
> more
> complication to an already underspecified format and making it a lot
> harder for
> tooling to work with these things.
> I'm wondering if there isn't a smaller step we can take towards allowing
> better
> interopability with diffrent build systems while also making the situation
> clearer when someone is still using distutils or setuptools. For the sake
> of
> argument, let's say we do something like this:
> Standardize a key in setup.cfg that can be used for setup_requires. This
> will
> be a static list of items which need to be installed in order to execute
> the
> setup.py. Unlike the current key (which is inside of setup.py) you don't
> have
> to deal with problems of trying to defer the import of the items or dealing
> with setuptools at all since your setup.py will not be invoked until after
> those items are installed. For people who want to continue to use
> setuptools,
> this file is trivial to parse with the standard library, so they can
> actually
> parse it and stick it into a setup_requires as well which will have the
> benefit
> that the tool calling the setup.py can handle those dependencies but still
> have
> it working on older versions of those tools without requiring duplication.
> This can also help work to make setuptools less special. Right now you
> basically have to just manually install setuptools prior to installing
> anything
> that uses it (or at all for something like pip when installing from sdist).
> With this we could pretty easily make it so that the rule is something like
> "If there is a setup.cfg:setup_requires, then assume that everything that
> is
> needed to execute the setup.py is listed there, else assume an implicit
> 'setuptools' requirement". This means that end users won't need to have
> setuptools installed at all, because we'll treat it (mostly) like just
> another
> build tool. This would also (for the first time) make it possible for
> things to
> depend on a specific version of setuptools instead of having to support
> every
> version of setuptools ever.
> I think that could solve the problem of "bootstrapping" the requirements to
> execute a setup.cfg and extract that from being implicitly handled by
> setuptools. That still doesn't handle the problem of making it possible to
> actually invoke the now installed build system.
> I think that what we should do is figure out the minimal interface we need
> from
> a ``setup.py`` based on what already exists. This would be a much smaller
> surface than what exists today and wouldn't (ideally) include anything
> that is
> an implementation detail of setuptools. We would also need to standard on
> what
> flags an arguments the various commands of setup.py MUST accept. This
> would of
> course not require a setup.py to implement _only_ that particular
> interface so
> additional commands that setuptools already provide can stay, they just
> won't
> be required. Off the top of my head, I think we'd probably want to have the
> ``bdist_wheel``, ``sdist``, and ``build`` commands. We would also need
> something like ``egg_info``, but I think we could probably diverge a bit
> from
> what setuptools does now and make it ``dist_info`` so it's backed by the
> same
> standard that Wheel is already. I think that these four commands can
> support
> everything we actually _need_ to support. This isn't everything we actually
> use today, but since this would be opt-in, we can actually be more
> restrictive
> about what build/installation tools would call and what level of fallback
> we
> need to support for them.
> The way it would work when what we have available is a sdist is something
> like
> this:
> We download a sdist and we notice that there is a setup.cfg:setup_requires.
> This toggles a stricter mode of operation where we no longer attempt to do
> as
> many fallbacks or hacks to try and work around various broken shims with
> setuptools. We read this key and install those items needed to execute the
> setup.py. Once we do that, then pip would invoke ``setup.py bdist_wheel``
> and
> build a wheel from that [1]. Once we have a wheel built, we'll feed that
> data
> back into the resolver [2] and use the runtime dependency information from
> within that wheel to continue resolving the dependencies.
> OR
> We have an "arbitrary directory" (VCS, local FS, whatever) on disk that is
> not
> being installed in editable. In this case we'll call ``setup.py sdist``
> first,
> then feed that into the above.
> OR
> We have an "arbitrary directory" (VCS, local FS, whatever) on disk that is
> being installed as an editable. In this case, we'll call
> ``setup.py build --inplace`` first, then do something to ensure that the
> inplace directory is on sys.path. This is currently undefined because I
> don't
> know exactly what we'd need to do to make this work, but I think it should
> be
> possible and will be more consistent. We'll probably also need something
> like
> ``setup.py egg_info`` or ``setup.py dist_info``, but balancing backwards
> compat
> with removing setuptools specifics is something we'd need to figure out.
> So why do I think something like this would be better?
> * It uses interfaces that are already there (for the most part) which means
>   that it's easier for people to adapt their current tooling to it, and to
> do
>   it in a way that will work with existing legacy packages.
> * It defines an interface that build systems must adhere too, instead of
>   defining an interface that lets you query for how you actually interact
> with
>   the build system (sort of a plugin system). This removes indirection and
> in
>   my experience, interfaces are generally less problematic then "plugins".
> * It doesn't drastically change the mechanics of how the underlying thing
> works
>   so it's a much smaller iteration on existing concepts rather than
> throwing
>   everything out and starting from scratch.
> * It moves us towards an overall installation "path" that I think will be
>   benefical for us and will help to reduce the combinatorial explosion of
> ways
>   that a set of dependencies can be installed.
> * It will be easier to integrate setuptools into this new system (since it
>   largely already implements it) which means that it's easier for us to
> move
>   projects to upgrade piece meal to this new system since it would only
> require
>   dropping a ``setup.cfg`` with a ``setup_requires``. This also means we
> could
>   adjust setuptools (like adding a dist_info command) and have the implicit
>   setup.cfg:setup_requires be 'setuptools>=somever' instead of just
>   'setuptools'.
> What this doesn't solve:
> * This essentially doesn't solve any of the dynamic vs static metadata
> issues
>   with the legacy sdist format, but that's OK because it's just a small
>   layering (a new setup.cfg feature) of a new feature combined with just
>   standardizing what already exists. Drastically altering the sdist format
> to
>   try and shoe-horn static metadata in there is probably not something
> that is
>   going to work well in practice (and needs a more thought out, newer
> format).
> * Dynamically specified _build_ requirements (or really, build
> requirements at
>   all other than via setup_requires). You can sort of kludge dynamically
>   specified build requirements by making a sort of meta-package that you
> put in
>   your static setup_requires that generats dynamic runtime requirements. I
>   think keeping this step simple though and work on enabling breaking the
>   dependency on setuptools/distutils in this step and then waiting to see
> if
>   that is "enough" or if we need to layer on additional features (like
> dynamic
>   or otherwise seperately declared build requirements).
> [1] This isn't related to the Wheel cache. In this stricter mode we would
> only
>     ever build a wheel and install from that. If caching is on then we'll
> save
>     that wheel and reuse it next time, if caching is not on then we'll just
>     throw that wheel away at the end of the run.
> [2] Pretending for a minute that we have a real resolver.
> -----------------
> Donald Stufft
> PGP: 0x6E3CBCE93372DCFA // 7C6B 7C5D 5E2B 6356 A926 F04F 6E3C BCE9 3372
> _______________________________________________
> Distutils-SIG maillist  -  Distutils-SIG at python.org
> https://mail.python.org/mailman/listinfo/distutils-sig
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