[Distutils] draft PEP: manylinux2

Nick Coghlan ncoghlan at gmail.com
Mon Feb 12 18:53:06 EST 2018

On 12 February 2018 at 07:34, Matthew Brett <matthew.brett at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Feb 11, 2018 at 7:53 AM, Alex Walters <tritium-list at sdamon.com> wrote:
>> "There is a tool that can make software run on a lot of different computers,
>> but only if you build it for an ancient computer.  The tool is a little
>> complicated - you have to learn how to get it and to use it with any
>> success.  The people who make it are considering changing the way they name
>> it.  The new naming scheme is the bare minimum year the computer running the
>> code can be from.
> I think the problem is that the whole discussion turns on whether we
> should care about the fact that it's more complicated than the last
> sentence would suggest.

It isn't really - what "manylinux2010" tells you is that distros
released before that year will almost certainly *not* comply with that
variant of the spec, since at least some of the relevant library
versions weren't available yet.

While it also conveys some fuzzier signals (such as "distros released
in 2012 or later will *probably* be compatible, unless they make some
unconventional library choices"), I agree with Mark's last email
explaining that we shouldn't view that as the primary benefit of
switching to CalVer based numbering: the primary practical benefit is
the fact that CalVer based numbering will let us backfill specs for
arbitrary years whenever it suits us to do so (e.g. a manylinux2008 as
the oldest base platform that more recent compilers are able to

We're also not assessing the CalVer numbering scheme in a vacuum,
we're assessing it relative to:

* numbering in order of definition (which would make backfilling
intermediate years confusing)
* numbering with arbitrary gaps (which allows backfilling up to a
point, but means having to explain the gaps [1])
* numbering based on RHEL/CentOS version (which makes it difficult to
ever choose a different baseline distro and still doesn't solve the
backfilling problem)

And from that point of view, we can see that if we assume CalVer as
the recommended path forward, then we wouldn't have a compelling
argument for switching away from it to any of the other plausible


[1] Ah, that would bring back memories of BASIC line numbering :)

Nick Coghlan   |   ncoghlan at gmail.com   |   Brisbane, Australia

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