[IPython-dev] [matplotlib-devel] [Numpy-discussion] Announcing toydist, improving distribution and packaging situation

Gael Varoquaux gael.varoquaux at normalesup.org
Tue Dec 29 10:55:09 EST 2009

On Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 11:34:44PM +0900, David Cournapeau wrote:
> Buildout, virtualenv all work by sandboxing from the system python:
> each of them do not see each other, which may be useful for
> development, but as a deployment solution to the casual user who may
> not be familiar with python, it is useless. A scientist who installs
> numpy, scipy, etc... to try things out want to have everything
> available in one python interpreter, and does not want to jump to
> different virtualenvs and whatnot to try different packages.

I think that you are pointing out a large source of misunderstanding
in packaging discussion. People behind setuptools, pip or buildout care
to have a working ensemble of packages that deliver an application (often
a web application)[1]. You and I, and many scientific developers see
libraries as building blocks that need to be assembled by the user, the
scientist using them to do new science. Thus the idea of isolation is not
something that we can accept, because it means that we are restricting
the user to a set of libraries.

Our definition of user is not the same as the user targeted by buildout.
Our user does not push buttons, but he writes code. However, unlike the
developer targeted by buildout and distutils, our user does not want or
need to learn about packaging.

Trying to make the debate clearer...


[1] I know your position on why simply focusing on sandboxing working
ensemble of libraries is not a replacement for backward compatibility,
and will only create impossible problems in the long run. While I agree
with you, this is not my point here.

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