[Distutils] Name arbitration on PyPI (was: The mypy package)

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Mon Apr 18 17:16:40 EDT 2016

You've made a strong case, and this is probably not where PyPi should go --
but it would hardly be a disaster:

> The idea of expiring out names has been brought up recently to resolve an
> issue of two packages, one popular and large; another someone's weekend
> project.

The issue here is not that it's a weekend project, but that it may be an
abandoned project. I don't think anyone suggest that we should have a
popularity or quality test to see who gets to trump whom with name
allocation -- I sure didn't.

Which is quite relevant to below:

> 1.  PyYAML is a package that would be de-registered in such a scheme.  It
> is a highly used, extremely popular, package that unserializes text into
> arbitrary python objects.  It is a trusted package... and one that hasn't
> been active in ages.

and you don't think ANYONE would be willing to take on the miniscule amount
of work to maintain the name? Plus there would be any number of other
schemes for determining whether a project name is abandoned.

> 2. the package tooling already assumes that names will always point to
> one, and only one package.  ever.  until the heat death of the universe or
> the death of the language whichever is first.

IIUC, the current scheme allows for a name to be "taken over" by a new
package if the original author so desires -- i.e. if the current owner of
the mypy name was happy to relinquish it, then "pip install mypy" would get
users something totally different 6 months from now. So no -- we don't
currently guarantee anything about future use of names. Other that that the
original author can do whatever they want with it.

3. Who in the PSF really wants that bureaucratic nightmare of arbitrating
> cases when this inevitably messes up, be this system manual or automatic?

I think bureaucratic nightmare is pretty hyperbolic, but yes, there would
be some overhead, for sure. And given that no one has the time and
motivation to even maintain PyPi at this point -- this will probably kill
the idea altogether.

To the specifics of the mypy-lang package that brought this up... It's like
> naming your company "Yahoo", and getting upset that yahoo.com is getting
> a bump in traffic because of your popularity.

Again - this is not about minor weekend projects not be "important". It's
about potential abandonware -- with domain registration, "Yahoo" can offer
to buy the domain from the current holder, or, if the current owner has
abandoned it, it will go into the public pool again when they stop paying
to maintain the registration.



Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

Emergency Response Division
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Chris.Barker at noaa.gov
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