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

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Thu Nov 3 17:44:04 EDT 2016

On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 3:39 AM, Nick Coghlan <ncoghlan at gmail.com> wrote:

> I don't think there's much chance of any of this ever working on
> Windows - conda will rule there, and rightly so. Mac OS X seems likely
> to go the same way, although there's an outside chance brew may pick
> up some of the otherwise Linux-only capabilities if they prove
> successful.

this is a really good point then -- we're building  "platform independent
system that, oh actually is a "a few different Linux vendors" system. Which
is a perfectly worthy goal, but it was not at all the goal of conda.

I wasn't there, but I think conda started with the goal of supporting three
core platforms (that are pretty different) with the same UI, and as much of
the same code as possible. And if you want to do that -- it really makes a
lot of sense to control as much of the system as possible.

> What I'm mainly reacting to here is Chris's apparent position that he
> sees the entire effort as pointless.

I don't believe I actually ever said that -- though I can see why'd you'd
think so.

But for the record, I don't see it as pointless.

It's not pointless, just hard,

That I do see -- I see it as hard, so hard that it's likely to hit road
blocks, so we could make better progress with other solutions if that's
where people put their energies. And you said yourself earlier in this post

 "I don't think there's much chance of any of this ever working on Windows"

One of the "points" for me it to support Windows, OS-X and Linux -- so in
that sense -- I guess it is pointless ;-)

By the way, I was quite disappointed when i discovered that conda has done
literally nothing to make building cross-platfrom -- I understand why, but
none the less, building can be a real pain.

But it's also nice that it has a made a nice clean distinction between
package management and building, a distinction that is all too blurred in
the distutils/setuptools/pip/wheel stack (which, I know, is slowly being

Not in the general case it won't, no, but it should be entirely
> feasible for distro-specific Linux wheels and manylinux1 wheels to be
> as user-friendly as conda in cases where folks on the distro side are
> willing to put in the effort to make the integration work properly.

I agree -- though I think the work up front by the distributors will be

> It may also be feasible to define an ABI for "linuxconda" that's
> broader than the manylinux1 ABI, so folks can publish conda wheels
> direct to PyPI, and then pip could define a way for distros to
> indicate their ABI is "conda compatible" somehow.

Hmm -- now THAT's an interesting idea...



Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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