[Distutils] Current Python packaging status (from my point of view)

Nathaniel Smith njs at pobox.com
Wed Nov 2 15:28:13 EDT 2016

On Nov 2, 2016 9:52 AM, "Nick Coghlan" <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:
> Aside from already needing a Python runtime, the inability to fully
> specify the target environment isn't an inherent design limitation
> though, the solution just looks different at a pip level:
> - you need a system for specifying environmental *constraints* (like
> dynamically linked C libraries and command line applications you
> invoke)
> - you need a system for asking the host environment if it can satisfy
> those constraints
> Tennessee Leeuwenberg started a draft PEP for that first part last
> year: https://github.com/pypa/interoperability-peps/pull/30/files
> dnf/yum, apt, brew, conda, et al all *work around* the current lack of
> such a system by asking humans (aka "downstream package maintainers")
> to supply the additional information by hand in a platform specific
> format.

To be fair, though, it's not yet clear whether such a system is actually
possible. AFAIK no one has ever managed to reliably translate between
different languages that Linux distros use for describing environment
constraints, never mind handling the places where they're genuinely
irreconcilable (e.g. the way different distro openssl packages have
incompatible ABIs), plus other operating systems too.

I mean, it would be awesome if someone pulls it off. But it's possible that
this is like saying that it's not an inherent design limitation of my bike
that it's only suited for terrestrial use, because I could always strap on
wings and a rocket...

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